It is hard to be productive in today’s fast-paced world. Instant communication leads to new requests every day, even every hour. Everything seems so urgent. It’s hard not to respond. But we often finish our working day feeling frustrated and even stressed. Despite working hard we can feel like we got nothing done.
Does this sound like your day? Would you like to take control and be more productive this year? We have compiled 5 Tips for a Productive 2019.
Decide to Change
It starts with you. If you want to be more productive this year then try something new. There are plenty of Productivity apps available, but there is no magic bullet. The trick is to figure out what needs to change in your work day. Where are you losing time? Where are you losing control?
Be honest with yourself. You may need to:
push yourself to spend more time on tougher, less enjoyable tasks
spend less time doing things you enjoy that provide a welcome distraction
Know Your Priorities
Your time is precious so make sure you spend it on the right things. There will always be too many things to do in the time available. Your decisions are important.
To make the right decision, you need to be clear on what is important for you and your role. What are your key responsibilities? What are you expected to get done? How much time to you need to spend helping clients or colleagues?
Make a Plan
It is simple – if you don’t plan your time, someone else probably will. So once you are clear about what you need to do, plan when to do it.
By looking ahead at the week, you have a greater chance of staying in control of your time. Making a plan is simple:
List 3 priorities for the week.
List the tasks needed to complete the priorities.
Decide what tasks you can get done each day.
Don’t let your calendar be filled up by others. By mapping tasks in each day, you block out time to get your work done. Use the gaps between meetings so that instead of defaulting to email (and everyone else’s priorities) you crack through your planned tasks.
People often say “why bother making plans when things keep changing”? My answer is when things change a plan helps you get back on track quicker. It helps you take back control of your time.
When the urgent unexpected tasks are done:
without a plan we respond to the next most urgent thing
with a plan we refocus on our planned work
But it is important to plan for the unexpected. Leave some time in the day for the new requests that will probably crop up. This helps you stay calm because you have time to respond, but you know you have your plan to go back to!
Once we get busy, it is hard to stay focused on where our time is going.
Who hasn’t done a quick Email check and then got distracted responding to other messages? These responses may be important, but they are not always more important than the tasks you had planned to do.
To stay focused on your planned work use frequent checkpoints. As you finish one thing and move to the next thing, check back on your plan for the day. Ask yourself:
Am I still on track?
If not what distracted me?
Is the new task the right thing to spend time on?
What planned tasks will I not get done?
Is that the correct decision?
If you are spending too long on tasks, try using the timer on your phone to limit yourself and make sure you move on.
Take Control in 2019
We can’t control how much time we have each day. But we can control what we do with it. So this year protect your valuable time and spend more time working on your priorities. But be flexible so you can still help others too.
Here’s to 2019. I hope the changes you make result in your most productive year ever!
Check our Articles for other productivity tips on Managing Email, Reducing Stress, Managing Your Attention.
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