A More Productive Work Day in 18 Minutes
How do you plan your work day? With the New Year approaching, it can be fairly easy to be distracted with the office’s gift-exchange parties, meetings with friends after 5pm, and the coming days off.
Chances are, many of us have too little time and a lot of work to do in it.
How we spend our time is a key strategic decision. We need a trick to focus on a few important things as so many things require our attention.
This trick might surprise you: Ritual.
Working consistently and deliberately toward our work goals and doing the same things day in and day out can actually lead us to success. Managing our time for work and then for personal items—like email, pictures, phone calls—can become second nature. Feeling overwhelmed can change to peace.
The Strategy: Three steps that take less than 18 minutes over an eight-hour workday.
- Set your plan. This should only take 5 minutes. Write your work goals for that day down on a piece of paper before getting onto the computer. This is your Productivity List. Ask yourself what will make this day highly successful. If a task is too large to complete in one day, take out your calendar and for each of those items, schedule them in. There is tremendous power in deciding when and where you are going to do something.
- Refocus for 1 minute every hour. Check the Productivity List you made before the work day started and see if you’re making progress. Take a deep breath and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.
- Review for 5 minutes only. This is at the end of your day. Where did you focus? What worked? Were there any distractions? The power of rituals is their predictability. When you do the same thing in the same way over and over again, your brain remembers that pattern. And so the outcome of a ritual is predictable too. If you are deliberately focused and repeat this process Monday through Friday or during your work-week, you will stay focused. It’s that simple.
Eighteen minutes may just help you leave the office feeling productive and successful. Now, at the end of the day, isn’t that a higher priority?