-Create a personal process to stay productive and focused.
Do you start the day hoping everything will run smoothly, only to have everything thrown off course by mid-morning? Are you overwhelmed by the endless emails, tasks, projects and meetings?
It’s challenging to be productive in our always-on, face paced world, but it’s possible. Here’s how to create a personal productivity process that will keep your mind clear and actions focused.
We seem to have more on our plates these days. Part of the reason is that we need more boundaries around our time and attention. Boundaries are limits on what we will and won’t do. They’re also limits on what we will and won’t accept from others.
Check the health of your boundaries by considering the following:
Have you accepted that you can’t do everything or be everything to everyone? Taking on too many minor things will create major overwhelm. Trying to please everyone will definitely disappoint you.
How clear are your priorities? When everything is important, nothing is important. Always return to your goals and values to guide what you should tackle first.
How clear are your responsibilities? From your boss’s perspective to your direct reports to your family members, it should be clear who is supposed to do what.
How effective is your “no? A fearful or guilty “no” means “yes” if you push me hard enough. Be firm, final and free to suggest alternatives to help others get what they need, just not from you.
Have a process.
Once you address any boundary issues, creating a personal productivity process will be easier. The key here is that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. You must try a few things and see what works. Here are some ideas to get you started.
- Define what’s most important for you to do, balancing your goals and responsibilities.
- Rank and tackle in order of priority and deadlines, actual or self-imposed.
- Break large tasks into smaller ones to make them manageable and rewarding to finish.
- Overestimate how long critical tasks take. If you get done faster, you have “found” time. Limit time for less essential duties to avoid getting sidetracked.
- Resolve emergencies by making the rescue a group effort as often as possible, so all the work doesn’t fall on you.
- Schedule “empty time” on your calendar for planning, mental breaks or breathing space.
- Don’t do what you don’t have to. Delegate effectively by investing upfront time to show others to help you.
- Automate what you can and eliminate non-essential tasks.
- Trim your communications to be brief and succinct, summarizing the main points with options or next steps. Request others do the same. Be clear about how much time you have to avoid misunderstandings.
Stick to your process.
A decision rules out all other choices. When you decide to have a personal productivity process, there’s no option but to work it.
If you’re tempted to stray, get a clear picture of the negative domino effect on your day and your mental health. You’ll quickly get back on track when you pay attention to the cost of veering off course.
Remember, productivity is a blend of being consistent and flexible. No strategy will be fool-proof, but through trial and error, you’ll find the best balance between what you have planned and what life throws at you.
Start now. Get ahead of the day before it gets ahead of you.
Til next week,
Jo-Aynne Von Born, Executive Coach
Work Your Authentic Genius.
Grow and flourish with your own intelligence!
1. In what way do you contribute to an out-of-control schedule?
2. What will you do to stop?
3. What’s your best first step to take back control?
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