If you don’t know what you were going to do first thing Monday morning, you are beginning the week with a poor start. Because you have not defined your top two or three most important objectives and blocked time to complete them, you are already in reactive mode.
Odds are, if you don’t know what you need to do and haven’t defined that work, you will go to the one place that feels like work but isn’t, your email inbox.
Working harder doesn’t make you more productive. Neither does working smarter. You can work very hard on things that don’t move you any closer to your goals. That isn’t going to make you any more productive than watching television. You can also spend time trying to hack productive by working smarter. Nothing is gained by applying greater efficiency to activities that aren’t aligned with your goals and objectives.
The only thing you can do to increase your productivity in a meaningful way is to do the most important work you need to do each day.
If you want greater productivity, you have to do your most important work each day. Being able to do that work is going to require some preparation.
- First, you are going to have identify your priority. The word “priority” is singular. What is the most important outcome or objective you need to achieve? You no doubt have multiple priorities competing for your time. But before you can decide what is your second most important outcome, you have to decide what is most important. You can make progress on two or three priorities each week, not two dozen.
- Second, after you know what you need to do, you have to block time to do that work. Your calendar is a reflection of your priorities. A calendar with too much white space means you are working in reactive mode. The world will fill that time for you, if you let it.
To keep small things from preventing you from spending time on big things, you have to crowd out small things. Being productive is a matter of focus and discipline.
The reason I get up at 4:30 AM every day is so I have two and a half solid hours for my priorities every day. No one wants your time and attention at 4:30 AM. What could you do with 17.5 hours each week?
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Filed under: Productivity