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 after running around and yet not have the desired result. Work with the desired result in mind. Start what you plan and finish what you start. I have noticed that if I get into a day without clarity of what I want to achieve, disaster and fruitlessness become imminent.
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 they feel that there is no need to inform you. Watch out for such time wasters. People must get used to booking appointments to see you. Anyone should have a diary that they can stick to in order to be organized. Watch out for unplanned visitors and calls with no real value or agenda. Over time, my friends and family have come to realise that without an appointment, it is almost impossible to hijack me.
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. When I am waiting for someone who is late, I use that time to write until the meeting starts. I have no business whining, I rather work as I wait.
5. Put reminders on the computer or mobile phone – 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 phone with other gadgets that I use more often. It works like magic for me. As you get busier in your career, you may require someone or something to keep you reminded of the things you need to achieve.
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. People will judge you based on your commitments to them. I am not afraid to advise those who have expectations from me of the amount of time it will take however long it maybe. This is better than promising heaven on earth.
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.
If you feel this article is of great help, share it with someone or with your team. I am committed to your effectiveness and success.