Anyone else out there have a “to-do” list longer than the circumference of their home? I used to have one just like that, too.
Here’s the good news—it’s not about getting it all done. Truly. It is about strategically getting the most effective items done that will yield the best results. As Pirkei Avot (2:16) teaches, Lo alecha ha-melachah ligmor—it’s really not about finishing all the work, but about doing our part.
Many of us want to have magic time-management makeovers that will make us become 100% efficient overnight. You would be totally forgiven if you thought you also needed to revamp and track your every action. Don’t worry: in reality, if you can implement a few key items, you can really increase your productivity.If you can implement a few key items, you can really increase your productivity
These cherry-picked tips are tried and tested to give you a quick route to über-efficiency. By incorporating the following tips, you can turn your productivity on its head and join the ranks of the relaxed and efficient.
1. Write it Down!
You will thank me profusely for this one, and when I take the time (most days) to do this, I thank myself too. Here’s the trick: Write down the 5–8 tasks you must get done the following day. Use a fresh sheet in your notepad, the notepad on your iPhone, or stick a Post-It note on your forehead. Bottom line, à la Peter Drucker: “What gets measured, gets managed.”
2. Leverage Your Work Time
The creator of Dilbert once commented that he is an early bird and gets the bulk of his work done between 5 AM and 8 AM, and his creativity would be seriously stifled if he had to work around any other schedule.
Figure out when you get your best work done, and leverage the bulk of your work around that time. As the saying goes, “It’s so easy when I want to, and so hard when I have to.” Stop working around someone else’s schedule, and be the master of your own efficiency.
3. “Next Step” Homework
Often, after interacting with people via e‑mail, text, phone, or even (shock, horror!) in person, there is a “next step” that needs to be taken care of. It can be anything from scheduling a coffee meeting on Tuesday, e‑mailing them your latest blog post, ordering a book they had recommended, writing them a thank-you note, or any other type of “homework.” Don’t be tempted to remember it “later.” Write it down right away, or if it can be done in two minutes or less, take care of business right then and there. Yes, I am Take care of business right then and therechallenging you to order a new book from Amazon, enter a coffee date into your Google calendar, and send a thank-you text in two minutes or less.
By incorporating these three habits into your everyday life, you will notice more efficient living and less “stuff” falling through the cracks. Instantly. Thank me later; first write down the “next step” homework from that phone meeting you just had.
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