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Want to increase your productivity by 25%? Then, at the end of today, make a list of what you will do tomorrow. I know it sounds too simple or perhaps even impossible because of the inherent interruptions you experience throughout your day, but if you'll give it a try, I promise you'll experience improvement as a result. So what if it's not a 25% improvement...because remember, we're shooting for consistent incremental improvements that lead to permanent changes and big results over time.
KEY #3 TO INCREASING YOUR VALUE AND INCOME: Plan Every Day in Advance! And every week and month for that matter!
Here's what we teach our executive coaching clients...
- When you're sitting at your desk this afternoon, preparing to go home, take a sheet of paper or open up an excel spreadsheet (or your favorite app) and list every action you can think of that needs to be completed in the foreseeable future (these might just be one-step actions or could be the next step in a multi-step project). Don't try to organize your list at this point...just get it off your mind and onto the paper (or your computer). Now, if this is the first time you have ever done this, the first time will take a little longer, but once this is a regular, daily habit, we're talking less than 10-15 minutes each day.
Productivity experts say every 1 minute spent planning saves 10 minutes in execution.
- Once you've gotten everything down on paper, then go back and assign a due date for each item. Then, if you have multiple things due on the same day, go back and prioritize them from the most important to the least important.
- One way to do this is to consider the consequences of completing or not completing the task. Obviously, something with consequences like getting fired or losing the client has a higher priority than something that has little or no negative consequence.
- Once you've finished your list for tomorrow, shut off your computer, put your pad away and go home for a restful, rejuvenating evening.
- When you arrive tomorrow morning, pull out your pad or turn on your computer and start on your list. You won't have to waste any time figuring out where to start. Now, was reading your email the first thing on your list. If not, then don't read it yet. This is where many people fall down in this exercise and decide list making doesn't work.
A major key to making this work for you...DON'T DO ANYTHING UNLESS IT IS ON YOUR LIST.
- If a call comes in, take it, but if it results in an action item, don't just dive into it, put it on your list and decide where it comes in priority.
- Work through your list, checking things off and developing momentum as you go through the day and before you know it, it will be time to write your list for tomorrow.