Avoid mistake activity for results; just because you’re doing something doesn’t indicate you’re being productive. What makes per day productive isn’t just crossing things out of your to-do list; it’s working on the really important things in your business. In order to be effective, you need to manage your time and your workload. That means planning. And that means consistently using a planner/calendar.
Use a planner/calendar
The single most effective action you can take to get more productive is to use a planner/calendar. I use both terms, “planner” and “calendar”, because planning and arranging are actually two different functions that you need to incorporate into the same device. You need to enter all time-specific commitments, each business and personal (the calendar function), then plug tasks from your to-do list into the times that are still left (the planner function. ) Should you have not been using a planner/calendar consistently you will be amazed at how much simpler and more productive your life can be.
Once you begin using your planner, you’re rarely faced with a blank page when you turn the page to a new day. You will have already entered time-specific to-dos, follow-ups, project pieces, meetings, errands plus phone calls on the days you need to deal with these tasks. When you can see the day time is about to overflow, you can start re-prioritizing, rearranging and rescheduling if necessary to prevent creating a schedule that you cannot possibly execute.
Keep only one
Schedules are much as well busy these days to rely on memory space alone. You need one single place to keep an eye on all meetings, tasks, projects, plus follow-ups. Keep all time commitments, whether professional, personal, or family in a single calendar. Otherwise, sooner or later you will overlook something or double-book yourself. A single important note, enter both function and family/personal commitments into your calendar.
You may currently be using several calendars: one on your phone, another on your computer, a third in a little notebook you retain in a purse or pocket, and perhaps a family calendar hanging on the wall. As long as your information is scattered in lots of different places, you’ll find it difficult to end up being truly organized and productive. You require one single calendar that you trust because you know it has all the information in it you need to be where you’re supposed to be, and what you aren’t supposed to be doing at any given time.
Keep it along with you
The best planner/calendar is one that can capture thoughts and to-dos wherever that you are so you will use it consistently. Therefore , you should choose something, whether paper or electronic, that’s small enough to have with you all the time.
You might find the best way to go is with some combination of papers and electronic. Some people keep their calendars in Outlook or Google Calendar, and then print it to a longer range view.
Keep everything in it
Your planner needs to be the particular one-stop-shop for everything you have actually promised anybody, including yourself, which you would do. It needs to be a trusted system that contains your meeting timetable, projects, task lists, status information, follow-ups, and cross-index to your tickler file. If you’re conscientious about keeping your planner up to date, you can totally relax and know you won’t neglect anything.
Using lists effectively is the secret to achievement. Important thoughts occur to us automatically throughout the day-things to do, to follow up on, to buy, to talk with someone about. If you don’t capture them immediately, they’ll be gone. Keep your lists in one location and keep that one place with you at all times so you can enter things you want to do before you forget them.
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Don’t let yourself develop the habit of jotting things upon multiple pads of paper. I have seen too many people frustrated by notepads throughout their office, each one with the best half-dozen sheets of paper covered with lists of various sorts. The result is they don’t know where to look next. What has already been done and what has been overlooked are lost in the visual clutter of half-completed, partially crossed-off lists.
You may decide to separate your listing into tasks of different categories, yet at least if everything is in one particular place you’ll know exactly where to look when you are at the store, on your way to a meeting, ready to return phone calls, or when you find yourself with a few extra moments to get something done. To make things easy, that one place with all your lists needs to be in your planner/calendar! That way, you can quickly transfer a task from one of your lists right into your calendar if you see you come with an open slot in your schedule.
While I’m in favor of lists in general, I actually do make a distinction between “someday” lists that capture every task, hope, dream, and intention that actually crossed your mind and real “right now” to-do lists-tasks you actually schedule into your planner to do on a specific day. Everyone has lists filled with issues that will probablynever get done-they’re possibly not essential, or require some resource that isn’t available, or the time isn’t right, or for some various other reason. Some items on your “someday” list may eventually become “right now” items for a real to-do list, but continually reviewing lengthy lists and feeling inadequate because you can’t fit everything into your present schedule is self-defeating.