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 Five Steps to Being More Productive

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Number of posts : 1919
Age : 47
Location: : Connecticut
Registration date : 2007-01-24

PostSubject: Five Steps to Being More Productive   Mon May 14, 2007 10:08 am

Here are some pretty sound productivity tips for when you're at work.

Quote :
1. Do the most important thing first.
Gina Trapani, the editor of, calls this a "morning dash." She sits down at her desk and does the No. 1 item on her to-do list so that she knows it's finished.

This requires a lot of prior planning. You need to write an accurate, prioritized list and you need to block out a portion of your morning to accomplish your No. 1 task uninterrupted.

The hardest thing about living by a to-do list is that you have to constantly ask yourself the difficult question, "What's the most important thing to me right now?"

A good to-do list includes long-term and short-term projects, and it integrates all aspects of your life. "Pick out lawn furniture" is on the same list at "go to the board meeting" because both are competing for the same, limited amount of your time.

2. Keep your inbox empty.
Your inbox is not your to-do list; your to-do list is something you compile and prioritize. If your inbox is your to-do list, then you have no control over what you're doing -- you've ceded it to whoever sends you an email next.

Productivity wizards experience less information overload because they deal with an email as soon as they've read it -- respond, file, or delete. Nothing stays in the inbox. Reading each email four or five times while it languishes in your inbox is a huge waste of time, and totally impractical given the amount of email we all receive.

3. Become a realist about time.
You can schedule and schedule and schedule, but it won't do any good unless you get more realistic about time. Develop a sense of who in your life is good at estimating time and who isn't, because you need to be able to compensate for the people who mess up your schedule with poor time estimates.

In general, though, we're all bad at estimating time. We overestimate how much time we have and cope poorly with the fact that what we do with our time changes from day to day. So the first step toward being good at estimating time is to understand your own inherent weaknesses. Then, at least, you can start compensating.

4. Focus on what you're doing so you can do it faster and better.
Most of the time, multitasking doesn't help you. It works for short, repetitive tasks that you're very familiar with. But you don't want to develop good work habits for boring work. You'd probably prefer to stretch your brain and try new things, and that kind of work requires focus.

A wide range of research has shown that even if you can talk on the phone and use email and IM at the same time, multitasking decreases your productivity. Our creative powers are compromised when we multitask.

The other common culprit to focusing is lack of sleep. Some people think they can use caffeine to dull the need for sleep, but it catches up with them. Fortunately, you only need a 10-minute nap to get your brain back on track. And when you're making up for several nights of lost sleep, you don't need to make it all up -- you just need seven hours to get back on your game.

5. Delegate.
Once you know what's most important to you in all aspects of your life, you'll know what to delegate. And the answer will be almost everything. The hardest part of productivity is admitting that you can't do everything.
In fact, it's the core of what being an adult is -- as a child, everything looks possible. Adults are hit quickly with the cold reality that they can only do what's most important. So be very clear on what that is, and delegate as much of the other stuff as you can.

At work, good delegating doesn't mean dumping your worst tasks on your co-workers. In fact, you often need to delegate your most appealing work and do some of the grunt work yourself. Because in the end, your No. 1 productivity goal is to get what's important done -- it doesn't matter who gets it done, and you're more likely to get a lot of help if you offer your fun stuff.

This holds true for your home life, too -- you can delegate a lot more at home than you think you can without losing the things you care about most.

Productive to the Core
The core of productivity is self-knowledge, which is emotional intelligence.
You have to know what you want most in order to know what to do first, and you have to know your goals before you can productively meet them.

"Enjoy every sandwich" ~ Warren Zevon
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