Your plate’s full and the demands on your time show no signs of dwindling. Setting priorities is a good start, but sometimes you need to make additional adjustments in the uphill fight to do what needs to be done. Here are seven tips that can keep you moving productively forward with less stress and more efficiency.
Limit Access. Block off parts of your day or week as do not disturb zones where colleagues are told to only reach out to you if absolutely necessary. Turn off your phone, instant messenger, e-mail notification – whatever has the power to divert your focus from a project.
Bundle Interruptions and Updates. If you have an assistant or associate, have him or her group all non-urgent questions, issues, and requests that come during the day. By saving everything for a regularly scheduled meeting, you’ll stop the flow of repeated interruptions that don’t add value.
Tee Up Your Meetings. When planned and run poorly, meetings become a black hole of lost time that undercuts productivity and morale. To ensure time well spent, distribute information in advance to help participants show up informed and ready. This will create an opportunity for people to actually share and debate ideas rather than scramble to get up to speed by reading background materials.
Write A Stop Doing List. Every organized person writes To Do Lists. But those who reach the highest levels of personal productivity also record what they commit to stop doing. If a routine, activity or project isn’t worth the time you invest, strike it from the mix and refocus energies where they have a positive impact.
Take Rejuvenation Breaks. Studies show that after 45 minutes of focused effort our ability to concentrate starts to taper and we no longer perform efficiently. Take a few minutes every hour or so to go for a walk, answer calls, chat with a coworker – anything that mentally removes you from the activity at hand. Along with recharging your batteries, these breaks can sometimes bring your best ideas to the surface.
Cut The Clutter. Forget the saying that a clean desk is the sign of a sick mind. For most people, mess creates stress, and cleaning out the clutter in your office can produce an environment where concentration and creativity are free to flourish.
Get Up Earlier. The early bird gets the work done. While others sleep in, many successful business people follow the mantra of “mind over mattress.” If pre-dawn wake-up calls don’t come naturally to you, try going to bed earlier and getting up just 15 minutes sooner before gradually increasing the time.
To think, create and produce at your peak, you need to take greater control of your busy day and how you navigate through it. Incorporate some of these take-charge strategies and watch your productivity rise above the noise and haste.