How many times have you set to attack a day and yet towards the end of the day you could hardly account for the running you did all day? How many times have you entered a day with no clue what you wanted to achieve but in the end still remained frustrated and unproductive. These are commons situations that professionals face daily. One’s productivity is a result of intentional and deliberate decision to aspire for and work towards productivity. You can never attain what you cannot measure. You can never enjoy life in the absence of productivity. Life calls for you to be proactive and deliberate about your own happiness as a professional. Happiness is a result of all that is desired being achieved within the set time. This article was birthed out of several disruptions to my fruitfulness. I watched and monitored how my time had been wasted and sought to change the way I did things. It worked phenomenally for me and I know it will work for anyone who is deliberate and intentional.
1. Determine you major and minor goals for the day – The main issue is knowing which issues are important and which ones are secondary to the main purpose. If you fail to plan your day, anything that comes will destroy your attention and focus. You will be tired and everywhere and yet not have the desired result. Work with the desired result in mind. That is being organized.
2. Stick to your plan – It is one thing to have a meetings schedule, it is another ball game to stick to what you purposed in 1 above. It calls for a high level of discipline to do so. Avoid over stretching meetings unnecessarily. Stick to the point. Stick to the budget. Whatever was not planned for at the start of the day may not suddenly be the main focus for the day. There are exceptions to this but in general terms, what was planned should be accomplished. Prioritize issues based on importance and urgency.
3. Watch out for disruptions – While you are planning your day, other people are planning their appointments with you but the feel that there is no need to inform you. Watch out for such time wasters. People must get used to booking to see you. This is not for senior professionals. Anyone should have a diary that they can stick to make things happen. Watch out for unplanned visitors and calls with no real value.
4. Occupy the idle moments – There is a lot stuff you can cover in between meetings or while driving from one place to the next. You can use that time to listen to an audio book. You can use waiting time to catch up on the news and so on. There are things you would rather not do during prime time, when you mind is fresh. I made a point not to read the newspaper at the start of the day. Newspapers tend to carry depressing issues which can scuttle your effectiveness and focus.
5. Put reminders on the computer and PDA – alarms will ensure you don’t forget what you have set to do. I carry my phones with me as they help me stay organized. I set the reminders, synchronize my PDA, phone and other gadgets with my email collaboration system. It works like magic for me.
6. Avoid over-promising your stakeholders – Productivity is usually scuttled because you would have promised far too many people big things that are not attainable in the given space of time. Be realistic with your promises.
7. Measure, correct and journal your experiences – You can never improve on something you are not deliberately recording and revisiting. You should be able to measure or score against all given tasks how productive each day was. When you journal you are able to come up with lessons on how to make it better the next time