You can easily brainwash yourself into thinking you’ve been “productive” by saying: “I had such a busy day!” Well, can you give reasoning into why you accomplished what you did today and why it mattered? That is why I have created a list of my top 3 productivity tips to make the most of your day in a meaningful way.
“Brain Dump” your to-do list/goals for the next day
Your to-do list will consume you if you do not take time at the end of the day to focus on what needs to be done tomorrow. Items will easily be mixed up or lost if you do not write them down.
By the time the next morning rolls around, you will have already disconnected from the previous workday, done some social activities, exercised, and done everything else in your busy schedule. Do yourself a favor and write down what needs to be done before you allow your brain to switch off from work mode! This includes what your goals are for the next day.
The difference between your to-do list and your goal for the day is that the goal will be the overall scope of what you got done that day that will make you content and proud of yourself for completing.
Deep dive into your emails every hour
I like to think of emails as “mini-meetings”; they consist of new information and require your communication. Taking a moment every hour to intentionally read and reply to emails will keep you up to date with any brand new items or changes to existing items.
This is imperative so you don’t get caught up in doing the actual work when – had you read your email – you would’ve noticed that you should have altered something in your work based on a comment made in an unread email or that a deadline has either been pushed up or delayed.
Prioritize your to-do list throughout the day
Prioritizing your to-do list throughout the day is key to having a successful workday, which turns into a successful work week. To my point about religiously checking your emails and keeping yourself up to date with items, you will be constantly changing the “order of operation” of your list.
I personally love using my whiteboard to do this; in the morning I will have my “brain dump” list up for the day (refer back to tip #1) and, after checking my emails, I will start numbering them based on priority; eg: If there are 5 items, the task labeled 1 needs to be done first. This list does not need to be based on how long a task will take. If you do this, you will get caught up in doing many small, quick tasks while avoiding the time-consuming, higher priority items.
After meetings throughout the day, along with checking my emails, I will go back to my whiteboard and erase the numbers of priority and start again.
Never run on empty. Fuel yourself by walking around, eating some food, & stepping into my office to try to beat me at Four Square – actually, you will win because I suck, so you’ll get a good laugh too.