In last week’s blog post, I shared a quick summary of time management tips to implement in order to turbo charge your to-do list.
In today’s Part 2 of that post, I’ll explain how to implement those tips, which will help you stay focused and productive throughout the workday.
If you want to be a-typical and create a productive to-do list that keeps you focused throughout the workday, implement the following:
- Determine tomorrow’s priorities. At the end of the day today, reflect on what you’ve finished and haven’t finished, then look ahead to meetings and deadlines you have tomorrow and the next couple of days. With that information, narrow down your top three priority tasks you absolutely need to address tomorrow.
- Estimate task times. Determine how long you need for each of those tasks. Be prepared to break these down into smaller increments of time/steps because you probably won’t have large blocks of time available.
- Consult your schedule. How much time do you have available once you factor in meetings, meeting prep and debriefs, and any commutes necessary? The time you have left after that is all the task time you have remaining in your day. Based on your time estimations, how much of your list can you realistically complete?
- Schedule appointments. If you have open time on your calendar, it will disappear before you know it. Therefore, as quickly as you can, make appointments with yourself as early in the day as possible to knock out those high priority tasks before the day can progress and throw wrenches and fires into your plans.
It’s very tough to remain focused and productive when you’re operating from a list of multitudes of items. When tired and stressed, your brain can’t decide which item will be the next best task to work on. When your list is created from stream of conscious without factoring in time, you end up frustrated and de-motivated at the end of the day when you’re facing yet another unfinished to-do list. But how can you possibly finish a list with 15 hours’ worth of work when you only have two open hours?
Yes, typical to-do lists are so blasé and usually unproductive. But this method is the opposite. It’s productive – which makes it a-typical and exciting!
For the ultimate guide on how to stay focused and productive at work, check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.