We all have the same amount of time at our disposal.That’s why how you use your time makes all the difference. Week after week, there will be more work to do, more tasks to accomplish, and so much more to get done even though you are doing your best to be productive.
Your to-do list never gets done: once you are done with this week, you definitely have to put something up for the following day or week. It never ends. It’s a cycle, whether you work for yourself or work for somebody else. Make the most of your week or day with these tips.
1. Plan your week in advance. Smart habits that prepares you for the following week can save you from a stressful Monday morning. Mondays are normally stressful and busy because there could be so much to do right from the beginning of the week. You can reduce the stress and workload by putting a little time into scheduling what needs to be done on Monday, right after the weekend.
Prioritise your tasks for the work week ahead so you don’t get overwhelmed by all the things you have to do from Monday. Determine if there are any pending deadlines (e.g. proposals due, commitments pending, etc.) and make them a priority.
2. Create a realistic to-do list. Most people are good at creating to-do lists but guess what, people don’t assign times to each task. You will always have more items on your to-do list than you can accomplish if you leave it open. Don’t make it a wish list, it’s a to-do list. If you have too many meetings in the course of the week, your productivity will suffer. Meet less to achieve more.
3. Define your outcomes for the week. Concentrate on putting down what you expect out of the week (what you intend to accomplish for the week). This is kind of different from your to-do list. Your to-do list is what you intend to do for the week. The outcome will be the results of your to-do lists. Both two should be clear right from the beginning.
Put a number to your to-do lists and the same for the outcome. It works better if you know exactly what you will be accomplishing for the week. Your to-do list and outcome list should clearly define what you want to accomplish for each day of the week. Once all those are sorted out, you can concentrate on the actual work for the week.
4. Track your time for each tasks that gets done. Once you start tracking your time, you’ll be amazed by how much time you spend doing stuff that isn’t productive. You don’t have to get hyper-specific, but track how much time you spend doing each task on your to-do list. Give it a try, it can really helped you focus.
5. Take a break, seriously, don’t skip it. Sometimes you just want to get a task accomplished without missing deadlines. Most employees either skip lunch altogether or eat lunch at their desk while working. This is terrible for your productivity and your state of mind.
Breaks significantly improves your mind for even more better work. They are really important. And I’m talking about get-up-from-your-desk, walk-around or stare-out-the-window breaks kind of breaks, not “Facebooking” or answering a personal email.
You need real breaks away from everything for a moment, even if it’s just 5 minutes, it’s worth it. If you have a regular work schedule, you can schedule breaks at similar times every day (which will, in a few weeks, then become a healthy habit).
Research has shown that you will make more ethical decisions when you allow your brain to take time off, since your brain will have incubation time, which allows you to be a smarter dot-connector.
Albert Einstein was a master of leaving space in his day, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weinermakes sure his schedule has empty spaces, and both Warren Buffet and Bill Gatesknow to protect their time.
6. Review your accomplishments. Review accomplishments related to goals on Friday just before you close for the week. If you are practicing the daily processes I’ve talked about, it’s important to crosse check and find out what you were able to do and what you could not accomplish (but set out to do).
Once a week I suggest you simply focus on your accomplishments – enjoy them, celebrate them, be encouraged by them. You will be better prepared with all the motivation you need for the week ahead (if you did achieve most of your goals for the week).
Have an awesome week!