Day 14 of the 90-Day Life Challenge is going to bring another Daily Dozen, but this one is a Productivity list. Everybody needs a list like this, and I'm finally creating one for myself that keeps me from being a completely ineffective scatter-brain.
- Rise before the sun. I have chosen 4:30am as my rise-and-shine time. It seems insane, but I do seem to naturally wake up before the 5am alarm I've always set. So why not push it a little?
- My 3 Most Important Tasks [MITs] must be completed/addressed before I do anything else. In the daily planner, this section is indicated by the "Must Do" section.
- Follow the Pomodoro method of productivity. This one is a personal favorite at the moment because I have a tendency to scatter-and-flounder when working on important tasks. Then my time management and effectiveness suffer and I feel crappy about the amount of time I put into my tasks. A separate post detailed the Pomodoro method will follow, but the basic idea is that for every 25 minutes for focused work, you take a 5 minute "brain break" to boost efficiency and productivity.
- Get organized. I'm definitely not yet, but I am actively working to improve my organization. Right now, I spent 10-15 minutes every day focusing on a specific area that needs improvement. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow, I will be working on our household paperwork.
- Prioritize my "to do" list. This process is 2-fold. First, I needed to select the perfect set of planning materials--for more information, please read my posts about creating my Daily Planning Binder. Second, I need to prioritize my tasks. This harkens back to my first experience with Franklin Covey when I was in high school, nearly 15 years ago. Basically, tasks receive a lettered priority rating (i.e. A = crucial; B = important; C = flexible). Then, once tasks are given a rating, they are then ranked in order of importance with numbers.
- Whenever a new task crosses my plate, use the Eisenhower Box. This copy of the Eisenhower Box was retrieved from the Huffington Post (article linked HERE). It is extremely easy to understand, and as long as you follow the guidelines for each task, you will never have more than you can handle at any given time.
- Use the "just one more thing" rule. I made this one up myself, and am a big fan. The idea is that whatever I'm doing, be it scrubbing the toilet, or tidying up the kitchen, I will find one more 2-minute task to complete. For instance, I am scrubbing the toilet, so I will take 2 minutes to spray a rag and wipe down the outside of the toilet or a few spots I see on the tub. Saves time during the weekly cleaning later.
- "Chunk" my tasks together. Simply put, when I begin to work on emails, I will only work on emails across the board until they are finished. No shifting gears.
- Set aside time for a "2-minute rush" at the end of the day. Any small tasks that have accumulated through the course of the day, spend 20-30 minutes at the end of the day and knock about 10 off of your to do list.
- Stop multi-tasking. Turn off your phone, put on some light ambient music, and clear your space of distractions when beginning to work on a task. In the short-term, it might feel better to have the TV on in the background--believe me, I'm there--but it won't help you get the work done any faster.
- When you are feeling overwhelmed, smile. I mean it, smile, and say, "I forgive me for struggling, but I'm not done yet." This is a very difficult thing for me to do, but I am slowly learning to allow the bad feelings to happen, and to let them pass through me. I will survive them, and I will complete my goals as planned.
- Reward yourself for a job well done. Positive reinforcement will always keep you coming back for more.
I hope you found some of the tips helpful, they have been tested on my end and I am happy to report some success in my personal life. Let me know if you have some suggestions too. I'm all ears :)