Thursday, May 2, 2013

5 Keys To An Productive Day

1. Prepare Your Mindset
Make time for mental preparation that enables you to be at your best.
Instead of getting up and rushing to work, allow time (even 5-15 minutes
will make a big difference) to read something to inspire and uplift you,
help you feel centered and well-grounded. You might like to write your
goals for the day, or favorite thoughts. Lots of people start the day with
prayer or meditation.  It's well worth getting up a few minutes earlier to ensure the best quality
for your day. Replace rushed and frenzied feelings with calm, constructive
thoughts. Build your day the way you would like it to be, instead of just
reacting to whatever happens. A good mindset is vital to a good day.

2. Identify Your Top Priorities
Write down the top 3 things you need to do. Don’t overwhelm yourself
with too much. (You’d be happy to get those three things done, wouldn’t
you?)  Number them in order of importance and you will have prioritized
your work. Focus on the first one until you have finished it or made
significant progress. Take a break, then do the same with the second one, 
and so on. If you do your top 1, 2 or 3 consider the day a success!
This approach is much less distracting than looking at a big list, making it
easier to stay focused on one thing at a time. 

3: Block Out Time
Waiting until you “have time” to get things done? Worrying about to-do’s
because you don’t know when you can get to them? That’s where
blocks of time come in. You may need a Reality Check! Are too many
things crowding out what’s most important? We have to “make time” for
the important things. It gives us peace of mind, knowing there is time set
aside to do what’s needed. You can use a spreadsheet and fill in your essentials (like
sleep, commuting, work, family, personal routines, etc.) Carve out prime
time (your best energy & environment) to work on your highest priorities
that will carry your life and business forward.

Allow extra time as things often take longer than we expect, because
sometimes the unexpected happens, and so you won’t feel rushed. Build
in things you want to do for yourself and others things that refresh you.
Even though we don’t always follow the plan exactly, a little planning
pays off in actually saving time and getting more done.

4: Focus
One of the top frustrations I hear about is interruptions. But they’re not
always from other people, are they? Research shows that we interrupt
ourselves most often. We multitask, we get distracted, we think about
something other than what we are working on, we think of things we need
to do, and on and on.
If we really want to be productive, we need to focus. Multitasking, studies
show, actually make things take much longer, as we are shifting our
attention back and forth. We must shut out the world to do high priority
work. Even in an hour or less we can make huge progress plus reduce
those feelings of guilt and stress!
So ignore email, let the phone go to voicemail, close the door or go to
another room. Keep pen and paper nearby to capture distracting
thoughts, and set a timer. Park yourself in that chair and FOCUS for 25 or
50 minutes on the most important thing that will move your life and/or
business forward. Take a 5 or 10 minute break (depending on how long
you focused) and repeat. Do this as early as you can each day and you
will reap the rewards.

5: Don't Let the Email Monster Eat the Heart of Your Day!
Studies and first-hand reports show huge productivity gains when email is
put in its place--later in the day. (And for goodness sake, turn off the
dinger!) Start with your prime Focus time, and do what is really important
to move your business and your life forward. 
If you are very disciplined, you may 

take a quick peek to see if there is 
anything that is a day-changer

 (such as the time of an appointment),
even though time sensitive information 

is better delivered by phone than 
email. But that is dangerous territory, because

it is so easy to get sucked 
into email. Set a timer for 5 minutes to "wake" you.

As I have a home office, I have about a 10 minute window of time before
breakfast when I check email and dash off a few quick replies, as
needed. But that is a contained, limited period of time, before my regular
office hours begin. Beware the email monster--don't let it eat the heart of
your day! Julie Morgenstern, an organizing and productivity consultant for
Oprah, wrote a book entitled "Never 
Check E-mail in the Morning." 

We should all take that seriously and be wise.

Summary of the 5 Keys to An Productive Day:
1. Prepare your mindset
2. Identify your top priorities
3. Block out time
4. Focus
5. Keep email in its place!

Now enjoy your Productive Day!