- Schedule your day from start to finish.
That even means waking and getting to sleep at the same time every day. Your body finds equilibrium in routine, along with efficiency for doing daily tasks better and faster, which means you’ll be able to pack more into what was once an unproductive day.
- Work with a team that syncs with your natural schedule.
The famous philosopher, Rene Descarte, met his end because he accepted a gig tutoring Queen Christina.
But the problem wasn’t the tutoring or the Queen. It was meeting on cold early mornings, which threw him off his natural beat of waking later in the day.
Make sure that when you accept a role or responsibility or pick your team, that everyone is in sync. That means being honest about availability, what work times are best, etc.
- Keep your inbox at zero.
An email has a way of piling up, but the worst part is a waste of time it takes to orient and prioritizes our focus every time we sign in.
Even if five old messages are sitting there, most people will read through them over and over until they are filed away or deleted. To avoid such a time wastage, only keep emails in your inbox that you can act immediately upon, otherwise file them in folders, labeled accordingly, like “one month follow up,” “five-minute response,” and so on.
Also, start using tools like Evernote to begin planning on your emails, capture quick notes, take screenshots or create tasks.
Evernote is my favorite tool and is considered to be the grandfather of all productivity and note-taking apps.
- Use specific instructions.
When you need to get something done, and it depends on others to help you, be detailed in your education. List each item that needs to be done, and corresponding details, and especially a deadline. Create a format/process for issuing instructions as well, so that part is automated too.
- Don’t fear the phone
We’re all so used to texting back and forth, which is suitable for record-keeping and group collaboration, but wake up when it becomes a waste of time.
In a project management capacity, I’ve seen dialogs between developers and stakeholders go on throughout the day, and adding a new layer of confusion. Everything could have been solved with a three-minute call, then if needed, a typed summary of action taken could have been posted for the record.
- Avoid meetings without a clear plan
Why does the world still insist on meetings when there’s no reason to gather the forces?
It takes time to prepare, end, and process meetings, so don’t schedule them just to have a pow-wow unless there are a clear plan and punch list for everyone attending.