I’ll be honest, I have been overwhelmed for several months now – with commitments, meetings, projects – the list goes on and on. My days keep my head spinning, and when I get home, I’m tired, my brain feels like mush, and I stare at the computer for a little while, then give up and go to bed.
As I have struggled to figure out how to eke more productivity out of my day, I’ve realized being more intentional in my planning is the way to make progress.
A little disclaimer here – this list is mostly for me, as a reminder of what I need to be doing, and I hope that it benefits you as well! So here are some of the things I’m doing to be more productive:
- Take 15 minutes at the end of your day to plan the next day – ok, this one is tough. By the end of the day, I’m just ready to go home! But what I have discovered is that taking the time to jot down the few most important things I need to tackle the next day – and even leave a stack with notes to myself on my desk – helps me hit the ground running in the morning.
- Schedule an appointment on your calendar to get projects done – my days tend to be so full of interruptions and “putting out of fires,” that sometimes the only way for me to get some projects done is to block out a few hours on my calendar. It helps me to be intentional with my focus during that time, and I’m much more likely to actually hunker down and do the work, instead of continually pushing it to “later.” I’ve been trying to get changes made on a training handbook, and it took the appointment WITH the reminder for me to spend the time to finish it. Feels great to have it out for review now.
- Don’t seek perfection – sometimes you have to be willing for something to be “good enough” so you can move on to more critical things. And usually, “good enough” is just fine!
- What can you delegate? This one is hard for me, but there are times that I am not the best person to do things, or the only person who can do things. I need to be more willing to delegate some tasks so that I can focus on what only I can do.
- What can you let go of? Some of the things on my plate may need to be moved to a “someday/maybe” category, or let go of completely.
- Don’t put off – dreading may be worse than doing. How much mental energy are you spending worrying about that task that then grows in your mind to an all-day thing? Just go ahead and get it done – I bet it won’t be NEARLY as bad as your mind built it up to be. Then you free up that mental energy to focus on more worthwhile things!
- Batch jobs – this is another one that’s hard for me. Some days I flit from task to task – email, small change on the website, data entry for a bit, then on to something else. I’m much more effective if I group like things together – all the changes on the website at once, respond to email all at once instead of throughout the day, etc.
Taking time to plan may be your most effective use of time today. Being more intentional in managing your day instead of letting it manage you, should help you get more done and allow you to carve out time for you. How nice to be able to let work go at the end of the day and enjoy spending time with your family.
How can you utilize your time more efficiently?