. Planning my work week first thing Monday morning
On Monday or whichever day my work week starts, I save up about 30 minutes before getting into anything work-related to look through my tasks for the week and plan out how I will get what done and when. Highlighting the most important tasks. Looking through my calendar and getting an overall idea of what meeting in the week I will be attending and plan for, jotting down all tasks that will require my attention. I usually have this in one place. Either a task manager app like Meistertask or Notion or old school writing down on paper and pen.
2. Scheduling time to check emails.
I used to be the kind of person who checked my work emails as they came in. Whether the emails had something to do with me or not, as soon as I saw that notification pop up, I will immediately open it, again something that’s sort of like a default. I wanted to be on top of things, respond fast and gain that credibility, and I don’t know maybe the fact that if I don’t respond sooner or miss an important email, then the world would go burning to the ground. I am not that person anymore. As a trial and starting things small to first get the feel of it all before making it a norm or going all-in was scheduling different times a day to check my work email. I started with two times a day and then settled with three times a day. So now I check my emails at 10:45 am, 2 pm, and 4 pm. Doing this has helped keep me focused on my overall tasks and being more intentional, which has boosted my time management skills and getting things done more efficiently.
3. Cutting back on meetings
In the book Make Time, there is somewhere it states that by default, other people choose what goes on our calendars, and by default, we’re expected to be okay with back-to-back-to-back meetings. Now that I am not that person anymore, there are things I first put in perspective in order for me to accept a meeting invite.
The meeting should have an agenda, plan, and purpose clearly stated unless I know beforehand what it’s about. I appreciate when people send out such meeting invites that clearly state the purpose of the meeting. If the agenda is not displayed, I will either reach out to the sender and ask what the meeting is about to assess if I am genuinely needed or decline the invite. I usually do not accept meeting invites that don’t have a clearly stated agenda.
Another element is if someone else on my team has been invited for the same meeting, do we both need to be there, or can one represent?
Hour-long meetings are a myth. With a few exceptional ones, when I am needed for something specific and am done providing my update on it, I usually ask if there was anything else needed from me or if it’s okay for me to drop off the call. Usually, 90% of the Time, this is okay. And this is to say that it helps free up some time for my other tasks.
4. Completing a task before opening anything else work-related (Email, Slack, Microsoft Teams).
Usually, when I start my workday, what I would do first thing after opening my computer right away was check email and IM (teams or slack). In case of any important messages or just getting that out of the way before starting my workday. It seemed like the norm set by default until I came across a revelation, if you may. I tried another model, starting my day by going through that day’s tasks first and going an extra mile to complete at least one of those tasks before anything else. Doing this has helped increase my focus and keep me in that flow of having a hold of my workday. Starting it straight with checking emails is hard to explain. It disorganizes my productivity workflow by letting other things determine the direction I should take things instead of making that decision myself with intention.
5. Using the Eisenhower Decision Matrix
This is a time management sort of thing that helps you prioritize tasks by distinguishing between what’s Urgent and what’s important.
If you find that you feel like you are drained of all the energy you possess, and yet you don’t feel like you accomplished anything of significance at the end of the day, then this is something you would want to look into, with the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, it can help exercise conscious control of Time spent on specific activities and assist with optimizing your Productivity
Initially, just categorize what’s Urgent vs. What’s important or what’s not Urgent.
Urgent means a task should be done “Now,” so Do it or delegate it. Important means tasks that contribute to our long-term mission, values, and goals. What is important is seldom urgent. Such tasks can be scheduled or assessed, and if they aren’t as important, delete them.
In conclusion, this has helped improve my productivity at work, and seeing the difference has been fulfilling. You could try some of these out and let me know how it goes.
Let’s do this again soon, Thanks for reading!