Need to feel in control of your workday? In fact, not only in control but focused, productive and happy? Here’s a simple plan.
Capture Your Highest Priority Tasks
There are dozens of things you can do, but what should you be doing to make your workday a truly productive one? From whatever giant list you use, (If you don’t have one, this post will help you get one.) pull your three highest priority tasks off of it and note them on separate sheet of paper. Prioritize them one, two and three. When you do those three, pull off three more. Rinse and repeat as many times as necessary.
Keep Projects Top of Mind
Your daily activity should be focused on tasks, which are one-step activities usually associated with projects. If you don’t have a task to do for a particular project, the project is in danger of falling off of your radar – which can lead to missing deadlines. Have a place to jot down projects you want to remember but may not be working on right now. Once you’ve noted them on paper, you don’t have to worry about keeping them in your head.
Get Personal Tasks Out of Your Head
You need a place to note personal tasks that you may know you need to do from the very start of your day as well as ones that pop up during the day. Your brain doesn’t shut off personal responsibilities just because you’re at work. Jot the personal stuff down and tackle those tasks when it makes sense rather than feeling like you need to do them now so you don’t forget to do them later.
Notice What’s Going Right
Work is stressful, especially when things may not be going well. You can’t always eliminate the challenges, but you can do better at focusing on the good things. There are thousands of articles on the power of gratitude. Note some good things throughout the day to keep your brain focused on the upside. It can be a good cup of coffee or landing a new client. Big or small, good things add up. Notice them and write them down.
Identify Your Preferred Stalling Technique
Sometime you know what you should be doing but you really don’t want to do it. What do you do instead? Clean off your desk? Go get some coffee or candy? Talk to a colleague? Get on Facebook “for a minute”? Check email? Your preferred stalling technique may not be the same thing all the time but you surely know what it is. To keep yourself from stalling, you need to keep top of mind what stalling looks like.
Choose Your Focus Technique
It’s not that you don’t want to focus. There’s so much going on you just forget to focus. You need a reminder and here are some options. Choose an object on your desk. In your mind, attach to it the word ‘focus’. Each time you look at it remind yourself to focus. Or, go a more obvious direction with a Focus sign or sticky note. Finally, try using a kitchen timer (not your phone) and set it for the amount of time you need to focus on a particular project or task. Don’t veer away from that task until you hear the ding.
None of these are rocket science and you can fit all of them in without making your work day even slightly more complicated. Not a ton of effort – but big impact.
A Simple Way to Make this Routine
Incorporate each of these simple steps into your daily routine and see how your results improve exponentially. To help make it even easier to start using these ideas, I created a crisp, organized form you can download. Want one? See below.