What you need is some structure!!! …. Structure so that you have a beginning, middle and end to you day, week and even month so that your years don’t run away either!
Here are 10 points to show how you can keep your To-Do list on target and your days on track.
1. Don’t check your email first thing!
We all do it but even though it’s been said before, so few people follow this rule, thus it bears repeating.
2. Make your first task of the day prioritizing your top three goals!
Because the number of outside demands on our time can be overwhelming, it’s important to know how to prioritize them. We need to be really clear about the most important things at the start of the day in order that we can achieve them.
You should limit yourself to three goals for the year or for the quarter as with four, five or six goals for the quarter or year to remember, you’re less likely to be able to unconsciously scan the environment for opportunities and threats relevant to those goals on a suitably regular basis.
When you do finally check your email in-box, remind yourself of those daily, quarterly and annual goals beforehand.
3. Conserve your decision-making energy at every opportunity!
Your ability to make great decisions is a limited resource, so it’s essential to learn to say no to tasks which aren’t among your priorities.
This means not thinking when you don’t have to and becoming disciplined about not paying attention to non-urgent tasks unless, or until, it’s truly essential that you do.
Turn off your smartphone during meetings instead of idly checking it to see what emails have come in — save it for later when you know you’ll be able to respond. Additionally, don’t expend energy thinking about a project until you have all the information you need….And after all this…..delegate!….Be that within your team or externally to a Freelancer.
4. Find and protect your quality thinking time!
“Quality thinking time” = time when you’re able to focus deeply and achieve what you set out to achieve within the time you expected to achieve it.
For a lot of people it’s a couple hours a week, if that…..And the culprit is our connected world.
The solution: Find time in the week for deeper problem solving and writing and creative work. During this time, turn off all distractions — email alerts, your phone, etc.
5. Reserve meetings for your low-focus time!
When you identify the daily or weekly time at which your energy ebbs, that could be the best time for you to have meetings, when you don’t necessarily have to be at your peak.
6. Don’t waste precious energy multitasking! Single-task as much as you can!
Our brains can only do one conscious thing at a time and switching between tasks not only wastes energy, but multitasking can lead to decreased performance and more mistakes…And in turn save no time at all (potentially because you have to do something twice due to silly errors being made the first time around!).
Multitasking between two activities takes the same amount of time as it does to do them one at a time.
If you have two things that need to get done as soon as possible and as accurately as possible, do one first and then the other…in priority order.
7. At the beginning of each meeting, decide where you want to be by the end and the most effective way to get there!
In most instances, conversations tend to fill the meeting time that’s been arranged and made available.
In meetings, there are five types of thinking you can do – vision, planning, detail, problem and drama.
Start with ‘vision’ as much as you can, even if for just two or three minutes, and work out a clear plan for the meeting itself and do all that before you start getting into the details of the topic at hand.
8. Learn to maintain a positive state of mind!
Learn to maintain a positive mind-set.
It’s fine to put out fires and do busy work that’s solving problems, but we generally do better thinking when we’re creative and collaborate better when we’re in a more positive state and moving toward something, toward a goal, and minimizing stress and threat responses.
If a tough project comes your way and you become anxious, don’t think about this as a potential threat but as an opportunity to show people what you’re made of…think about how elated you’ll feel when you complete it!….think of something you can reward yourself with when it’s over!
As you change your interpretation, you change your whole mental state and the way you approach projects in the future.
9. Carve out down time!
Have some down time and you’ll find you’ll get a lot more insights into your mind.
Switch off your phone when you’re in the car or on a train or plane. Don’t turn your devices on first thing in the morning and have regular blocks of time where your brain is just resting.
You’ll find a lot more insights coming through.
A 10-20 minute nap in the afternoon when you’re low is helpful for being more creative and more productive for the rest of the day. Studies show if you had a bad night’s sleep, having a nap like that can get you almost back to the level you need — the level you would have been at if you had slept well the previous night.
10. Celebrate small wins!
We all are so busy and our minds so problem-focused, that we tend to rush from one thing to the next and miss the progress we are making. However, a sense of progress has been shown to be one of the most rewarding and engaging experiences in the workplace.
Take time out regularly — weekly or monthly is ideal — to celebrate the wins and the progress you have made towards your goals. Positive emotions are helpful on so many levels, including improving our immune systems and making us more creative.
Keep a record of your successes and read them all at the end of the year!…It will remind you of how far you have come!