It is true that we, as a society, have gotten busier. As travel became quicker and the speed of information became almost instantaneous, the ability to “get more done” has become an expectation in both the home and in the workplace. Kids wake up, go to school, likely attend an after school activity, then off to soccer practice, home for dinner, homework and off to bed to wake up and do it all over again. We, as adults, are not only in THAT mix with the family, but we are juggling the pressures and demands of a workplace that never seems to quite give us a chance to exhale.
Over the years, I have examined my time management practices and reevaluated them often. These practices sometimes became habits and eventually, I didn’t feel like I was always chasing that opportunity to sit down and exhale. Most of these habits I have found useful throughout my career, while some have overlapped into my personal life and worked for me there as well. Yes, there are days where I still feel like I’ll never catch up, but those days do not occur as frequently as they once did. At the end of some these days I notice that the “to do” list hasn’t changed much, other than gotten longer, but luckily it isn’t like it used to be.
Getting the day started right can make all the difference in your productivity. I have a few things that I do in the morning at work to help establish control of my day.
1. Don’t check e-mail first at work.
When you go into the office and the first thing you do is open your e-mail, you are essentially allowing other people to dictate how your day is going to start. Rather, before you leave work each day, list three things that you want to accomplish first the next morning. When you come into work, get those out-of-the-way and then check your e-mail. Establish your routine at work that you are in control.
2. Don’t get sucked into impromptu meetings as you are walking to your office.
You know exactly what I am talking about, those employees who don’t even allow you to get your coat off or your briefcase set down before they approach you with “I need to meet with you.” Heck, sometimes I can’t even get into my office before getting bombarded with questions. My approach is simple as I say, “I will let you know when I am ready to discuss this later today” or “I have three things I have to get done first this morning, I’ll let you know when those are done.” (Yes, those are the three things I mentioned in #1 that allow me to set the tone of my day.)
3. Listen to the Entreleadership or Freakonomics Podcast (or something motivational)
This may sound a little odd, but when I listen to talk radio on the way to work, the attitude of the callers or personalities can set me off even before I get into the office. I prefer to set my own tone on the way to work and listen to something that I know will get me in a good mindset before walking in the door. Sure, sometimes I listen to music, but I feel like I can put my commute to better use. Entreleadership and Freakonomics both entertain and educate. I highly recommend them both.
4. Stay on Mission – With Everything. Remember… #MissionFirst
Speaking of mission, this guiding principle is a great way to keep your time managed and keep you focused on the things that are important at work. Does the project or task at hand help further your organizational mission? No? Then why are you doing it? Start your day off by reading your organization’s mission statement. It is a great reminder as to why you are there and, if you are passionate about the work you do, it will be invigorating.
5. Eat Breakfast
It sounds simple enough, but a lot of people skip this meal. Eating breakfast will help you avoid crashing later in the day. I like to stick between 250-400 calories for breakfast. I also prefer to eat that breakfast before I leave for work and not on the way to work. Eating “on the go” always makes me feel rushed. I don’t want to feel rushed and eating breakfast before I leave for work helps me avoid that feeling.
These things work for me. I’d love to hear what works for you!
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 5 Things To Help You Take Control of Your Day
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