PANICKED PROCRASTINATOR TO PRODUCTIVE PACESETTER
Bertrand Russel said, "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." Unfortunately, we are not employed and do not get paid to waste anyone's time, including our own. I think it is safe to argue that we are all guilty for wasting time at work and being on the clock while doing nothing productive, whether intentional or not. There have been times I have worked for 10 hours and genuinely left feeling like I got nothing accomplished for one reason or another. Organization is hard. Time management is hard.
I have always been a productive person. I get done what needs to get done when it needs to be done by. However, how I got those things done, were extremely inefficient and typically took way longer than it should have. Although I was a productive person, I was never a highly productive person, which is a distinction I have only recently come to learn. So how did I go from Panicked Procrastinator to Productive Pacesetter? Let's take a look.
Eat the Frog
Mark Twain said, "If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning." This quote simply means to get the most difficult and or challenging tasks out of the way first thing. There is solid reasoning behind this. One, typically, there are less distractions first thing in the morning as everyone else is still getting into the office or doing their own administrative duties. Two, people tend to have more energy in the morning and can be encouraged to ride the wave of accomplishment throughout the rest of the day.
Before you leave the office, spend 5-10 minutes establishing a to-do list for the next day. This list may include tasks that you were unable to accomplish that day, menial tasks that you do every day, or tasks that you hope to get to if time permits. Creating this next day to-do list is helpful for a few reasons. First, it will reduce some sense of anxiety about leaving for the day, knowing that you already have a plan for the next day. Second, this eases stress for starting work the next morning since you already have tasks planned out and can get right to work.
A sinking boat does not volunteer to add more water to itself, and neither should you. If you are already feeling swamped with tasks, it is ok to say no, or not right now. It feels uncomfortable at first, but it can also provide a sense of empowerment to advocate for yourself, especially if you are not in the habit. Of course, there are times you simply cannot say no, but prepare a more appropriate response. Try something along these lines.
"When do you need this by?" - this creates a deadline, but it also provides opportunity for negotiating.
"This sounds important. I cannot guarantee I can get it done by X, but I can guarantee to have it done by Y."
Do. Decide. Delegate. Delete
The Eisenhower Box was my greatest find on my journey to improving my productivity. Every morning, I take my to-do list from the night before, and create my Box. The Eisenhower Box is constructed into four quadrants, each representing a level of priority for established tasks. Quadrant I is for Urgent and Important Tasks. Do those tasks first, now. Quadrant II is for Important, but Not Urgent tasks. Decide a good time to complete these tasks and schedule a time to get them done. Quadrant III is reserved for Urgent, but not important tasks. Delegate them to someone who has more time to get them done quicker. Quadrant IV is the last, reserved for Non-Urgent, Non-Important. Delete these tasks. Eliminate these from your to-do list.
If you find yourself struggling with maintaining peak performance due to kinks in your organizational and time management chains, reach out to one of our certified on demand performance coaches through Mindurance today for more tips and tricks like these.