Today got away from me. It slipped right through my fingers and hid itself in the black hole that is better known as, ‘where did today go?’
Instead of completely resigning to this fact, I decided there is no better time than the present to re-evaluate how I lost today, and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Or realistically, often.
Take Back Your Schedule: Email, Twitter, and Phones, oh my! Being a slave to communication tools is a quick way to lose your day. Block a chunk of time to respond to emails, listen to voicemails and check social channels, and force yourself to reply to non-urgent messages during that time ONLY. If you’re afraid you’ll miss something important, you can set rules to alert you when emails come from a specific sender, or you can do a quick scan every 30 minutes to make sure nothing urgent comes through. No cheating!
Assign Each Task a ‘Bucket’: I have to-do lists of to-do lists. I wish I were kidding. I recently saw inspiration within one of our conference rooms, which showed a bucket for each project: Now, Soon, Table. If you break lists into these buckets, and go one step further and take inspiration from Scrum and assign each project an estimated time, you can better schedule your projects and manage your time.
Make Yourself Accountable: This again comes from Agile methods and makes each team member accountable for a portion of a project and its outcome. After you decide which tasks are ‘Need’ and how much time each will take, make yourself accountable for finishing on-time by bringing others into the process. Company-wide, we use social performance management tool Work.com to make team and company goals and deadlines visible. If you’re looking for a free alternative, it’s as easy as using a public, shared spreadsheet with your team to input your tasks, deadline, and outcome.
Do you utilize any work hacks to improve productivity?