Ever find yourself wishing you had more hours in the day? Let’s be honest, those of us that think we’re being productive never really seem to get everything accomplished as planned. There’s always something we missed, something we didn’t have time to do, or something that we completely forgot to finish.
Interested in getting started with time management? Checkout a more recent post The ABCs to Time Management and Getting More Done.
I’m always thinking about productivity and efficiency in my life and business. I do this all the time for clients too. Those that work with me know I’m a stickler for it. For my business, I don’t ask that my team constantly improves on productivity and efficiency, I expect it. We incorporate it every day at the office and talk about it almost daily. Productivity and efficiency are the two aspects of life and business we cannot overdue.
10 Rules to Boost Your Productivity
1. Write it down: Don’t just say you’re going to do it, go out of your way to write it down! Create an objective and goals for the day. Keep a Moleskine notepad with you at all times and jot down notes when needed.
2. Make a to-do list: At the start of your day create your to do list. You can use the same notepad I mentioned above or use an app like Wunderlist to help you out. Wunderlist is an app that syncs to all of your devices so it makes keeping a to-do list extremely convenient.
3. Throw out the trash: If it’s on your list and really doesn’t contribute to your objective or goals for the day get rid of it! Don’t spend your time doing useless or needless things.
4. Prioritize your list: Make sure to get the things most important done first. It’s always best to prioritize, especially a to-do list! Some people will want to start with getting the easiest things done first. I disagree. I say, get the most difficult things done spread out throughout the day so you don’t feel as if you’re procrastinating on the most important tasks.
5. Set reminders on your phone: Hopefully, you have a smart phone. If you have a late lunch meeting at 2pm, set a reminder on your phone. I’ve found that this is the easiest way to keep me on schedule.
6. Use your calendar for recurring events: If you have items on your to-do list that happen on a recurring schedule, set them up as calendar events on your smartphone. If you set the event to create a series, you’ll always be reminded of that important task! Go ahead, set a daily recurring calendar event now on your smartphone, call it “Stay Focused!” Set the calendar event to occur daily beginning immediately and have the reminder set for 1:28pm daily.
7. Do a time management study: Ever wonder where your day went? If you’re terrible at managing time you probably will never get anything on your to-do list done. Take control of your day – do a time study. For one day, write down everything that you’re doing on the hour. For example: 8am – checking emails, 9am – still checking emails, 10am – working on project example, 11am – ordering lunch etc.. Seriously, who checks emails for 1 hour? That’s insane! A time study will show you what you’re doing too much of, and how to make better use of your time. Get started with your first time study today. Checkout our post Are You a Time Waster? Create an Activity Log to Find Out. You can download our free activity log from there.
8. Be an early bird: Sleep is good for us. Having adequate sleep (6 – 9hours) as an adult will ensure a happy and healthy life. However, some people can overdo it and will sleep way too much for the heck of it. Make the most of your day by getting up early. I wake up daily around 5:30am and begin my day with coffee, reading, research, and sometimes writing to my blog. Around 7am, I make my to-do list then start my day off with a shower.
9. Have respect for time: It really upsets me when people have no respect for time. Don’t be late – don’t ever be late. When you’re late it shows you’re either lazy, don’t care, or have no respect for other people’s time. Be prompt, be punctual, be on time!
10. Become a master delegator: Know what and to whom to delegate your menial tasks to. There’s a saying, you can delegate the task, but you can’t delegate the responsibility. The responsibility is ultimately yours. However, if you delegate the task be sure to follow up to ensure it gets done. Take your to-do list and see who can help you do what.
Here’s How I Start My Day
Those of you that know me you’re already aware that I don’t get much sleep. I sleep on average about 4 – 6 hours a day. I know, it’s not all that healthy and it completely contradicts some of what I say on rule 8 but it’s not by choice. I nap throughout the day when I can plus I’m a caffeine addict and that doesn’t help.
Around 5am I naturally let my body wake up (I hate alarm clocks). I begin with checking my emails and LinkedIn messages. I will flag the most important emails and delete the ones that aren’t necessary. I forward emails and delegate to team members and I only answer the quick ones that won’t take more than a couple minutes.
From 6am to about 6:45am I am having coffee, reading, blogging, and doing other internet stuff. Sometimes, this isn’t always work related. It is a good way to fill my mind with knowledge before starting my day. It is my escape and gets me thinking. Depending on what I read, it can really motivate and improve on my results for the day. I will also have NPR at low volume in the background.
Before 7am I make my to-do list. I will revisit my flagged emails and to-do list from the day prior. While creating my to-do list I am prioritizing the most important tasks for the day. I will start my to do list with an objective for the day. I keep both a written and digital copy of my to-do list using a Moleskine notepad and Wunderlist.
At about 7:30am I take a shower. This is the perfect time for me to think and clear my head. Often times, I will still be planning out my day, going over my to-do list, and prioritizing. If anything changes, when I get out I will make the necessary changes to my to-do list.
From 8am to 9am I am traveling to the office. No, it doesn’t take me an hour to get there but it’s definitely around that time when I am either leaving, or preparing to leave. I have breakfast in my car. Usually another cup of coffee with a fruit or an oats and grain bar. I sometimes record my podcasts while I drive and while listening to an audio book at low volume.
When I get to the office around 9am, It’s show time baby! I quickly setup my workstation, make another cup of coffee, and begin my day going through my to-do list. Of course, things will come up throughout the day that may take precedence over my to-do list, but that’s why prioritizing is so important. Stick to the plan – always, stick to the plan! At the end of my day, I always clean and clear my desk. I always make an effort to get this done as it helps with my efficiency the following day.
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