Have you ever had a day where you ran around all day doing and doing and doing but at the end of the day you felt as though you’d accomplished nothing? This happened to me the other day. As the end of the day approached I had a chance to reflex on the day and I felt that I had failed to get things done at all.
I found myself completely worn out, yet my to do list was still going strong. How could I have failed to get things done so badly? I sat down and tried to deconstruct my day. I found some interesting things.
While I was very busy no doubt, I didn’t get things done because of my approach, not my effort. I found that I was multi-tasking to my detriment. I also had no direction. My mind chose what it wanted to do rather than being told what it needed to do. Here is what I did to change my approach and get things done.
Big Actions – If you could only accomplish one thing each day, what would it be? I ask myself this every day. This one action is the first thing I do when I start my work day. This way, even if the rest of the day goes horribly wrong, I will still have completed at least one very important task.
Nozbe – I use Nozbe as my to do list. I am able to make projects and track each action within the projects. I can also mark items as “next action” so I know what to do next. I have it on my computer, iPad, and iPhone. I typically work on my computer but have Nozbe open on my iPad, checking off items as I get things done.
Big Rocks – If you haven’t heard the story of the Big Rocks, I’ll make a post about it soon. The jist of it is that big rocks are important things in your life while the sand is the less important tasks. If you fill your glass with sand you won’t be able to fit in any big rocks. If you place the big rocks in first however, you can fill in the cracks with sand. The take away is this. Do the important things first, then fill in your day with the less important stuff to get things done.
Block Your Day – Make a schedule and fill it with blocks of time for different types of tasks. This will help you to focus your energies on different and new things. For example I spend 30 minutes socializing when I arrive at the office. I then have a 3 hour block of time dedicated to certain types of projects. I have a 1 hour block allocated to reading. I have 1 hour of flex time to spend on side projects after lunch. Another 2 hour block in the afternooon is dedicated to meetings. This forces me to continually change gears.
Following these steps will mix up your day and keep it fresh. It also keeps you focused and gives you direction. All this is what you’re going to need to do to get things done. Now say goodbye to tiresome and unproductive days.
Question: Do you feel like you’re in a rut at work? How might these suggestions help you escape?