We all know the feeling of having too little time in the day to accomplish all the tasks on our to do list. We have also experienced excessive amount of meetings and those famous “firestorms” that pull you away from your agenda and make your productivity a wash.
How do we combat this? How can we accomplish tasks when all we’re able to do is stay afloat?
Stop having so many meetings.
In a survey reported in Industry Week, 2000 managers claimed that at least 30 percent of their time spent in meetings were a waste of time. Therefore, if you’re meeting once a day for an hour, you’re wasting an hour and a half of work. The solution? Unless you’re really needed, don’t go. Meet less with less people. Limit your time, and stick to it, and most importantly, have a clear goal for your meeting and strictly stay on topic.
Only answer your emails two to three times a day.
This is so important, because too often, we become slaves to our emails. If I were to answer every email instantaneously, I’d literally be answering them all day. This would increase my stress levels and scatter my focus, causing me to get less done throughout the day. Plus, I’d be answering them so quickly, that I’d do so without being mindful of what I’m writing causing me to reply in error or unnecessarily. Instead I have three periods during the day (around morning, noon and night) where I check my emails and after the third period, I stop. Meaning that when I get home, I stay present and recharge my batteries.
Work in a quiet place.
Working in an office can often feel like a mad house with your boss yelling for you to come see him, your cubical mate making conversation and everyone else having constant conversation, pulling your focus in many directions. Instead of battling this challenge every day, decide when you’re not going to be available for conversation unless absolutely necessary. Put headphones on, close your door, go to a coffee shop or work from home. Do what it takes for you to not be distracted.
When you do check box off your list, celebrate.
By celebrating, I mean getting up, giving your brain a break and refocusing your energy to get started on your next task. There are lots of ways to do this, taking a walk is perhaps the best way, but certainly getting up to stretch, cleaning off your desk and reading something amusing are all great tactics to motivate you and keep the energy flowing.
Andy also wrote the book Change Your Day, Not Your Life, a guide to sustained motivation and more productivity.
See Andy's speaking schedule for an event near you.
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