Planning Ahead For Productivity, Part 2

Don't-leave-it-till-the-last-minute tips that'll get you in gear.

Shale Paul, a personal effectiveness coach in Tallahassee,Florida, offers more tips for taking action:

  • Honor your personal work style. "When are you mostcreative? When is the best time for you to do routine chores,exercise, study, communicate, even nap?" Paul asks."Understand and honor your style, and you'll be moreeffective. Ignore it, and you'll work at less than optimumcapacity."
  • Make the first touch a decisive one. The first time you touch adocument, you need to put it where it can be dealt with. That couldmean taking immediate action, forwarding it to someone else, orputting it in a "to be handled later" file.
  • Follow the WIFO principle. WIFO stands for worst in, first out,which is Paul's technique for dealing with those unpleasanttasks you'd rather avoid. Once you finally get the task done,Paul says, "Chances are, you'll find that you spent nearlyas much time worrying and rescheduling it as you did actually doingit." So assuming the task meets your priority requirements,simply get it done and out of the way.
  • Schedule a weekly cleanup time. No matter how skilled youbecome at scheduling, prioritizing and delegating, there willalways be times when you feel overwhelmed by too much work."You may find it helpful to pick a time each week as a cleanupperiod," Paul advises. "This is the time you'llmentally review your priorities and dispose of all those littlethings that have built up during the week."

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