1. Block out time to complete important tasks
Block out time in your day to concentrate on a given task and continue to schedule your time until each task is complete. As far as is possible schedule any meetings that need to happen outside of this time. Allocating time appropriately for completing projects or meetings will give you peace of mind.
2. Stop the endless to-do lists
To-do lists are all well and good but only if you use them effectively. Constantly adding to your to do list will do nothing but overwhelm you, which more often than not will put you off completing the tasks on the list. How do you write up a worthwhile to do list? First off separate your work, personal and other tasks into categories. Where there are big projects listen, break them down, clearly showing actionable tasks. Under each project task, list the information you need in order to complete that task. Finally prioritise your tasks, each item will not be of equal importance, if you’re wanting to write the most effective to do list you need it to be ordered by priority. As your most effective in the first two hours of the day (link back to previous article) you should consider checking off high priority items first thing in the morning.
3. Switch off
By this we don’t mean mentally, that won’t get anyone anywhere. What we mean is to try switching off your phone, close down your emails and shut the door. If you really need to knuckle down and get things done then do yourself a favour and switch off from the world for a while where no distractions can take place.
4. Learn to say “No”
You may want to be the person who is everything to everyone but frankly that’s just not possible, at least it isn’t if you want to work on your own work projects at the same time. If distractions occur when you are working on an important task, defer the need to act until a later point in time.
If you have a team around you, utilise them and their time. All too often we can think that we can bear the brunt of the majority of work, but ease up some of the pressure and delegate to the wider team. This doesn’t mean you are shying away from responsibility, in actual fact is shows that you understand the importance of the task and appreciate that it will be better managed by someone who has the time and energy to put towards it, rather than simply ‘fitting it in’ to your already busy schedule.
6. Rise Early
Don’t waste your precious time hitting the snooze button, however tempting it can be. Most successful business men and women appreciate the fact that the first couple of hours after waking can be some of our most productive so why waste them? Most often we wake, refreshed, calm and clear headed. As the day progresses, energy levels drop, stress levels rise and we find ourselves multitasking. Get high priority jobs complete early, and leave smaller tasks for when you have less head space in the afternoons.
Remember that on average it’s only 20% of the time we take talking, thinking or doing which produces 80% of our results.