They say a messy desk is a sign of genius. Unfortunately genius status won't get things done for you. As we are pressed to get more done with less, we're all looking for life hacks. In this blog, we offer seven suggestions to get you on track for a freakishly productive week. Give them a try. We've even created a printable download you can post in your workspace to keep you on task!
Still working off that "to do" list? The problem with these lists is that they are typically a list of problems with no particular priority. Things are easily misplaced or overlooked when less important, but more visible issues arise. Instead, put action behind those items by calendarizing them. You may not need to get to them all this week, but make a decision on how long the task will take and give it a deadline. Working from a calendar eliminates the wasted time you use to constantly reassess your priorities.
2. Take Breaks
While this may seem counter-intuitive in the face of your busy schedule, the opposite couldn't be more true. Brief mental breaks are key to sharp brain awareness. Feel free to stop right now in the middle of this blog for a short walk. Up and down the stairwell will work nicely, or once around the building. Just don't take your phone. That is not a break. Let your mind wander, even for just a few minutes, and you'll return to your work pleasantly refreshed.
3. Sleep your way to the top
While we're on the subject of things that you might consider a waste of time let's talk about sleep. Productive people maximize their energy by making self-care a priority. The biggest bang for the buck on self-care comes in the form of great sleep. Great sleep is more than a set number of hours. It also includes setting boundaries on electronic usage and learning to help your mind settle out of "work mode" hours before sleep. At the very least, commit to not looking at your phone for 2 hours before bed and any screen at least one hour before.
We recommend this book: Thrive by Arianna Huffington
4. Focus on the behavior, not the outcome
Truly productive people do not procrastinate. This is largely because they do not obsess over the outcome of the work. Worrying about possible responses to the work wastes time and hinders motivation. Those things cannot be controlled. Instead, hone in on the actual behavior needed to take immediate action. This habit keeps your brain engaged in the present and focused on producing quality work. GET REAL
5. Set a maximum of three tasks per day
Once you start considering 4 or more items your delegation mindset should be kicking in. If you need to accomplish more than three things you are going to need help. Consider who on your team can help you and be clear with them about what it would look like for the task be not just done, but done well. Communicating deadlines when delegating tasks also keeps things real for the person helping you.
We recommend this book: 15 Secrets Successful People Know about Time Management by Kevin Kruse
6. Just say "NO" (to traditional meetings)
A general rule of thumb is to just not have meetings. That doesn't mean collaboration and communication get thrown out the door. Consider a shorter meeting format instead - like stand up meetings. Standing up reduces the total meeting time and will also require attendees to engage differently. Consider setting time limits to ensure people are sharing truly relevant information and are not talking for the sake of talking. Try sharing the floor. Monologues tend to reduce attendee engagement. If you absolutely must have a sit-down meeting, be sure to get started knowing exactly what needs to be accomplished to adjourn. This gives the meeting a fixed end whether that can be accomplished in 5 or 50 minutes.We recommend this book: Death by Meeting by Patrick Lencioni
7. Know Thyself
The ancient Greek wisdom of self-awareness. Understanding what you can do exceptionally well with little energy output, is a powerful tool for increasing productivity. Loading your week with tasks that drain you is a great way to guarantee you are frustrated by the end of each day. None of us can do what we love all the time. But, as we grow more aware of what brings us energy we can better delegate tasks to maximize our energy and efficiency.
We recommend this video: Evolution Of A Job Hater
What are you still doing reading this blog? Don't you have things to do?
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