I used to consider myself a pretty organized person. For those of you who are familiar with Emergenetics, I am primarily “green”–actually primarily is an understatement , I am over 51% green. If you are not familiar with my color coding green stands for: Structural–I like precision, practicality and processes, a detailed organized plan is important for me–I like the idea of developing a concrete solution and meeting a clear objective. I am a planner, an organizer–which means I am list maker and I like to stick to it. Hey, they don’t call me Anal Amy for nothing.
Lately, I feel like I am missing my green and it is making me blue..boo hoo! I frequently find myself asking “where did this day go” as 5:00p.m. rolls around. I start my day off with great intentions but by 9:00am the emails are rolling in, the phone is ringing and my “to-do list” just keeps growing without scratching off any of the previous items.
Instead of making a call to “whine 1-1″ I have decided to be pro-active and resort to what I do best…making a list… here are my plans to better stay on track during the work day:
Step 1: Put all your tasks in your calendar. Need to write a monthly report? Block off the time needed in your calendar. Need to research new business prospects? Schedule that time each week. By committing tasks to our calendar, we’re more likely to see them as true appointments that can’t be rescheduled or skipped.
Step 2:One of the best ways is to eliminate – or at least minimize – your distractions. That means turning off the cell phone, shutting down e-mail and logging off Facebook. Even if you just take a quick look at the latest e-mail message, it’s still eating into your productive time.
Step 3: Close your door. If you happen to have an office with a door, shut it for an hour or two each day to minimize interruptions. No door? Remember college professors and their “office hours?” Try a similar technique in which your staff or colleagues know you’re available between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. but for the rest of the day you don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s urgent.
Step 4: Pick two or three items on your to-do list that can be done quickly and knock them out first thing in the morning. That way you have a sense of accomplishment and will feel energized about the rest of the day.
Step 5: Recharge your batteries. It can be tempting to take your work home in an effort to catch up, but not taking a break can make it even harder to concentrate. Give yourself some time to unwind and chances are you’ll be able to tackle your tasks faster.
Looking for more ideas to add time to your day? Check out this article from the Harvard Business Review, including tips like asking those around you ways we might be wasting time that we do not notice in ourselves.
I’d like to hear from you–how do you stay productive and avoid distractions and interruptions at bay?