You can’t control time.
You can control how you use time.
The key to being more productive and effective isn’t time management; it’s action management. It’s paying attention to how you are using your time.
Create Routines for Ending and Starting Your Work Day
Routines help you be more productive because, once established, you don’t have to think about what’s next. You just execute the routine.
When 33 miners in Chili were trapped underground for more than a month waiting for rescue, they created routines to impose structure on the chaos. They organized themselves into work teams to clear rubble, to eat together at set times, and more. All 33 survived and were rescued.
Establishing routines and maintaining them kept them safe and sane in a situation that could have had disastrous results for all of them.
Before you close up your office for the day:
- Review your plan for the next day, focusing on your top priorities.
- Set between 1 and 3 non-negotiable goals for the next day in support of your Eisenhower Quadrant 1 priorities.
- Schedule them on your calendar.
- Organize what you need for the first task of the next day and place it on your desk or create shortcuts on your computer desktop.
When you arrive at your desk each morning:
- Review your plan for the day.
- Review the non-negotiable goals you set for the day.
- Tackle the task you placed on your desk.
- Avoid low priority tasks, such as checking email or phone messages until you have completed your top task for the day.
What is your highest priority task for today?
Use the Pomodoro Technique to Improve Focus and Results
In the 1980s, Francesco Cirillo developed what he called the “Pomodoro Technique,” named after a tomato-shaped timer he used in college. The technique involves an interval-style of time management.
You set a timer for 25 minutes of intense, focused activity on a single task. At the end of the interval, you take a five-minute break, then start another interval. After four intervals, you take a longer break.
Just as exercising with intervals can produce results more quickly, high intensity focus on a single task leads to greater productivity. Your concentration becomes laser-like, allowing you to produce results faster and more efficiently.
- Set up 25-minute intervals when you are blocking off time on your calendar to work on your top priorities for the week.
- Aim for three or four intervals each day, but if you can achieve only one or two, you will be more productive than you otherwise would have been.
- Refuse to be interrupted during each interval.
Bundle Routine Tasks
Being scattered and jumping from one activity to another without finishing anything is spending time. You save time using a process called “bundling.”
Instead of handling phone calls and email as they arrive, bundle them! Schedule specific times during the day to check and reply to email and snail mail, handle phone calls, and tackle social media related to your business.
Set aside time on your calendar to handle these activities in blocks of time and focus solely on them when the assigned time comes around. You will work faster and get more done in less time.
Which of your routine tasks can you bundle?
Trash the To-Do Lists
To-do lists never get done. They become an endless record that mocks you and ratchets up a sense of failure. Just looking at it saps your energy.
Stop creating to-do lists; instead keep a Task List.
When you are in an interval or any time you need to focus on something, refuse to stop what you are doing to take care of someone or something else.
- Jot down the action you need to take on your Task List.
- Tackle your Task List when you have breaks during the day.
- Prioritize the items on the list using the Eisenhower Matrix.
- Plan to handle anything that falls in Eisenhower 1 or 2.
- Follow up and be accountable.
Your Guide to Greater Productivity and Effectiveness–E-Course
Do you end your workday feeling exhausted without having accomplished anything important?
Are you tired of putting out fires instead of having time to work on what’s important?
Is your business taking over your life and leaving little to no time for anything or anyone else?
If you answered yes, it’s time to take charge of your time and begin to get the results you need for unstoppable success.
Each short lesson in this e-course gives you tools and strategies to set priorities, plan for results, increase focus, and more.
Do you want to stop spending time and start investing it to achieve your business and career goals more easily and more purposefully? If so, Your Guide to Greater Productivity and Effectiveness gives you what you need.
What’s in the Course?
You gain immediate access to all 15 lessons. These are the tools and strategies that I have used and taught in my 20+ years of experience as a successful entrepreneur, writer, consultant, and workshop facilitator.
You can read through the lessons from 1 to 15 or dip in and out, based on your just-in-time needs. It’s yours to refer to again and again.
Here’s the line-up of lessons you immediately have access to:
Lesson 1: Set SMARTER Goals
Lesson 2: Plan to Get the Right Things Done
Lesson 3: Using Paired Comparison to Set Priorities
Lesson 4: Put Your Priorities to Work
Lesson 5: Ramp Up Your Effectiveness
Lesson 6: Where Is Time Slipping through Your Fingers?
Lesson 7: Take Charge of Interruptions
Lesson 8: Set and Honor Your Boundaries to Be More Productive
Lesson 9: Stop Multitasking and Get More Done
Lesson 10: Stop Doing Everything Yourself
Lesson 11: Regular Breaks Boost Results
Lesson 12: Organization Strategies for Disorganized People
Lesson 13: Clear the Clutter
Lesson 14: Don’t Let Meetings Run Your Day
Lesson 15: Procrastination
Bonus: More Tools for Getting Results
Buy it now on our sales page: Your Guide to Greater Productivity and Effectiveness