We all have the same 24 hours daily to accomplish our tasks. They come in a myriad of forms: phone calls, emails, projects, operational and administrative work, appointments, meetings and more. Priorities conflict, distractions tempt us and it’s hard to keep our eyes on the ball. It takes a lot of effort. Sound familiar?
We can improve our chances of success by adopting more of a ‘big picture’ perspective and focusing on the end result.
Focus on the Right Goals.
What to do: Identify what is important to you and define the intended goal. Why is this important to you? Keep asking why (5 times) to drill down to the root issues.
Manage Priorities. Most of us will admit to having 8 to 10 priorities. With that many, it requires super-human effort to do a good job of handling all of them well.
What to do: Narrow down your priority list to 3 or 4 goals and focus on those. By limiting your list, you will be able to put your best efforts to your BIG GOALS. If reducing your list seems impossible, give yourself a temporary reprieve. Your abbreviated priority list can be short-term and you determine when it expires.
Plan and Plan Again. Planning saves time, money and effort. It rewards us with reduced stress, increased productivity and more free time.
What to do: Start small. Focus intently for a short time. You can accomplish a lot of planning in 5 or 10 minutes. On the other hand, don’t get so carried away with planning that you aren’t taking action!
Share and Improve the Work. There's no reason why you need to do it all yourself.
What to do: Outsource projects, trade off with colleagues and implement best practices. Applying slick processes will increase your capacity.
Practice. It takes roughly 21 days for a new behaviour to stick.
What to do: More of all of the above.
Believe it or not, you could find these tactics make your workday more enjoyable. (I do!) At the very least you’ll have a greater feeling of control.
Originally published in Work Better, Not Harder on January 20, 2011