What You Can Do Today to Make Tomorrow More Productive
With 96 blocks of 15 minutes in a day, be careful about letting yourself fall into the email, meeting or "do-you-have-just-a-minute-to-talk" traps. Guard your time carefully.
Keep in mind that what you do over the next five to 10 hours will either positively or negatively impact your energy tomorrow. That means what you eat, how much water you drink, if you work out and how late you go to sleep tonight all determine the type of day you'll be having tomorrow. Be sure you're doing things that keep your energy on course.
Your biggest distraction is yourself. Most of the time, you set yourself up to fail. Ever tried to write a long email on your mobile phone while dismissing alerts from social media sites or instant messaging? You must create blocks of undistracted time if you're going to get the right things done.
When you make a conscious effort to focus, you need to decide how to best use your time in advance. At the end of a day, take a moment to think about the meetings, work sessions or appointments on your schedule for the next day and reassign them a level of priority.
Is there anything you can postpone? Is there anything to cancel? Is there something you need to prepare for in advance?
If you have multiple meetings scheduled, can you combine them into one? Decide what you want to focus on, and make sure you arrange everything so that you can be where you need to be, mentally and physically, without interruptions.
If you need to spend time alone working on a big assignment, schedule a 45 or 60 minute meeting with yourself, away from interruptions.
What does it mean to debrief success? I encourage my clients to assess once a week how they have improved the use of their time and focus during the past couple of days. To do this, open your calendar to next Thursday, a week from today. Doing this kind of debrief on Thursday, instead of Friday gives you a sense of achievement from reviewing that week's work, which provides extra energy to carry on before the weekend. This also gives you time to organize anything that needs to be done before you leave the office for the weekend.
Being more strategic about how you use your time will take you further toward improving your productivity, so you can maximize the time and energy you have to get the most important things done.
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