I have attended time management classes and read about it in books, but often still feel as if I can’t get everything done let alone find time to start new ventures. So this year I decided to make productivity and time management a priority and take some drastic action. It’s been life-changing and now I’m getting so much done I am beginning to have room to take on some more new projects.
The changes I have made are pretty simple and lots of them were inspired by watching this video graphic article in Entrepreneur magazine.
Never mind what I think I should do, here are eight things I am actually doing right now that are making such a huge difference…
#1 I spend the first 30 minutes of the morning planning what I am going to do that day. Sound too simple, but try it because it’s unbelievably effective in making positive changes to productivity.
#2 I spend 15-30 minutes at the end of every working day considering what I’ve done today, what needs to be done tomorrow and any tasks that need to be transferred over. This part involves crossing off things on my ‘to do’ list, which is always enjoyable.
#3 I spend five minutes before every task, call or meeting deciding what I want to attain. I put the timer on and think deep and wide about why I am doing the task and why – and the best way to make it really work for my wider goals. It’s easy to feel like skipping this five-minute planning session when you’re busy, but I make myself do it because it saves time when actually doing the task.
#4 I spend five minutes after every task determining whether the desired result was achieved. I consider whether it went well and why, tick off the task on my to do list and work out if there’s anything left that will need to moved to another ‘bring forward’ list because it hasn’t quite been completed today.
#5 I use an Eisenhower Decision matrix to plot every task I can think of that needs doing – a bit like a massive to do list. Eisenhower graph click here But the most important thing for me is that I put lots of things that used to be on the ‘I’d like to do but who knows when I’ll get round to it, probably never’ list on to the ‘important but not urgent’ quadrant. This means that I am getting round to things like joining a new networking group, thinking about a new travel adventure and starting a new T-shirt design and print business because it’s higher up my ‘to do’ list now.
#6 I have a new Moleskine notebook. Each day I start a new page with a list of jobs that need doing that day. Each job is broken down into key tasks. Alongside this I have a Moleskine diary and keep an Outlook digital diary. I cross reference these during my 30 minute daily planning session.
#7 I am putting one of those mundane, small things that I never get round to on my daily ‘to do’ list. For example, get the desk lamp mended, buy parcel tape, sell an unwanted item on ebay, sign up for a training course. Bit by bit I am getting through the back log of small, tedious jobs that I’ve neglected for a while but which, when completed, make life run more smoothly.
#8 I schedule in brainstorming time to think about what I would like to achieve in nine key personal-goal areas. These are: financial; family and friends; pleasure (holidays, days out, adventures); public service (charity and community stuff); artistic; attitude (personal mind-set things I’d like to change); education (courses I might want to attend); career and physical (health, fitness and wellbeing).S0 far, so good and I’ve made massive, massive changes to what I am getting through and achieving every day.