It’s 8 am, you just sat down at your desk with a fresh cup of coffee (Keurig for the speedy type, a nice French press if you’re like me), you look at your mountain of work for the day, and you start climbing.
Now it’s 5 pm. You’ve had two too many cups of coffee, and your mountain is still a mountain.
If you’re anything like me, these days can be incredibly frustrating. You work non-stop at break neck speed, but you don’t seem to make a dent in your workload. Over the course of several months of backed up workload and a burned out attitude, I found some common threads in my daily work life and decided to make a change. I found three practices useful in actually getting things done, decreasing stress, and even finding some time to water a couple of plants.
1. Meet with a Purpose
Let’s be honest, meetings upon meetings upon meetings can be a complete waste of time. Instead of getting things done, you’re sitting in a room talking about what should be done. All talk, no action.
But what if we stopped meeting for the sake of meeting and instead met with a purpose?
Going into a meeting unorganized is more likely to waste everyone’s time. Instead, focus your time on the outcomes. You know what needs to be accomplished, and if you are fully prepared and organized, your meeting can be fruitful. You’ll walk away knowing something got done.
2. Write It Down
Wait a second, what was I…
Oh, yeah, write everything down!
With so many urgent things popping up throughout the day, it’s easy to forget a task. Unfortunately, this can lead to some unfortunate consequences down the road.
Don’t give yourself the opportunity to forget that urgent report or call. Keep yourself organized by writing tasks in a planner, on a calendar, with Post-Its, or with online tools like RedBooth.
Many organizations – especially those with remote employees – find online tools like RedBooth can help improve communication, time management, and organization. However, my personal favorite is the Post-It method: write it all down on Post-It notes, and as the tasks are completed, ball them up and toss them in the trash. It makes checking off the to do list a bit more fun.
3. The Golden Hour
Lifehack published an article introducing the Power Hour: the one hour of the day you spend plowing through as much work as possible without being distracted by emails, calls or meetings. There are some variations on this method as well, but the idea is essentially the same.
Turn everything off and focus on your to do list. Work as fast as you can to get everything done. Once your timer goes off, give yourself a small reward, such as getting a drink, a snack, or talking to friends.
If you’re courageous, you can try the Golden Hour. At the crack of dawn, when the sun is rising and not a soul is in the office but you, take your Power Hour to the next level with a Golden Hour.
Now go forth and be productive.