How many times has this happened to you: you wake up (sometimes begrudgingly hitting that snooze button for the third time…stop doing that…) lazily get ready for the day, get into the home or work office, turn on your computer, and realize you have no idea where to begin?
Too many times I’ve heard people say this is their daily reality. They’ve got a million things to do, and no idea where to start. The problem is they didn’t take time to prepare for their day. And when I say prepare, I don’t mean taking an hour to get everything set up and ready. That wouldn’t be an efficient use of time. I mean taking just 5-10 minutes to get organized and be the architect of your day.
This guide will show you how to maximize your workday productivity in 3 simple steps. By doing this yourself, you’ll find that your calendar isn’t the giant beast you thought it was – you’ll be able to tackle a large inbox (and anything else) with more ease.
But do these steps before anything else…
1. Know Your Calendar
When you wake up in the morning, do you know what you have planned for the day? If you’re one of the many people who don’t, you could be losing precious time.
But simply knowing your calendar isn’t always enough. You often need to take it one step further – know what’s non-negotiable.
If you’re blindly going through your calendar duties without knowing what the priorities are, you may find yourself scrambling at the last minute to get that report in, or throwing together an error-ridden project in haste because you took too much time on less-important tasks.
So not only should you know what’s on your calendar, more importantly, you should know what needs to get done by the end of the day. By tackling those things immediately, your to-do list will be less daunting later.
2. Seriously, Know Your Non-Negotiables for the Day
Do you know – I mean really know – which tasks in your day must get done? Should that fun project you’re working on due at the end of the week get pushed aside for the boring report due by the end of the day? Probably (definitely). Determine the 3-5 things that must get done prior to the end of the day, and the rest will seem to fall into place.
However, simply being aware of your list of non-negotiables doesn’t cut it.
For example, let’s say you’re running a little behind on your day. You have an appointment in an hour, but also a project that’ll take 3 hours to complete. Should you start the project now and come back to it later? Or can the fourth item on your non-negotiables list get pushed to the top so that after your appointment you can dedicate an uninterrupted block of time to complete that first project?
See what I mean?
It’s not enough to just know your schedule, you have to understand it as well so that you can improvise if and when the time comes – be efficient with your time.
3. Be Confident
This may seem silly, but confidence really is a big factor.
Imagine you’re starting to work on a project 1, but then you get worried you won’t have enough time to finish project 2 by the end of the day, so you switch tasks…only to find an hour into project 2 that project 1 will actually be a more-difficult task to complete, so you go back to project 1 but you’ve lost that groove and have to get back into the mindset you had for project 1–WHEW! Exhausting!
That’s why when you have your calendar set, figure out your non-negotiables, then double check to ensure you’re correct in the way you’ve laid out your game plan.
Of course you can recalibrate if need be. Sometimes we think one item on our to-do list will be more difficult than it actually is, or our boss throws the curveball “I need this by the end of the day instead of the end of the week.”
By staying on top of your calendar, it’ll be less imposing on your schedule (and mental energy) to switch things up because you fully understand how your duties fit into your day.
Now that you know what’s on your calendar, understand your 3-5 non-negotiables, and have the confidence that the game plan you’ve laid out for yourself is the one that’ll set you up for success…you can check your email.
We’ve only dipped our toe into the productivity and email organization pool. There’s the whole shallow end (and deep end!) to get to as well! If you’re ready to take the plunge, then strap on your goggles and get ready for some serious swimming – but don’t worry. We’ll start in the shallow end and work our way to the deep end.
This complimentary 45-minute webinar will help you learn how to feel in control of your inbox, be more responsive to important collaborators, and reduce your anxiety and stress. Tame the Email Beast….ARTT™ demonstrates time-saving techniques within Outlook primarily; however, the concept is platform-agnostic. It is about teaching your human habits connected to technology (whether Outlook, Gmail, or AOL Mail…ok, nobody uses AOL Mail anymore, right?).
Register for your favorite date today and I look forward to having you at the program.