5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Each Day
Each day we start off with the best of intentions. We have important work we want to complete, people with whom we wish to speak and long-term projects we need to begin working on. But by the end of the day, we discover we've only accomplished a fraction of what we wanted. So we're forced to come in early, stay late and work weekends. Yes, we're busy, but hardly productive. Here are five time-saving tips that will help you become more productive:
1. Schedule an appointment with yourself. Give yourself uninterrupted blocks of time -- 30, 60 or 90 minutes -- during the day. This enables you to concentrate and focus your attention on the task at hand. Close your door, turn off the phone and beeper, and give yourself time to think and concentrate as you tackle your tasks and projects.
2. Make the most of your prime time. There's a time of day when we have lots of energy and enthusiasm, and our ability to think and concentrate is high. Figure out when you're most effective, and tackle your most important work then. Try to schedule meetings, appointments and other activities at other times during the day.
3. Avoid impromptu meetings. They're really just interruptions and are huge time wasters and productivity destroyers. They break your concentration, disturb your train of thought and take away your momentum. The next time a person comes into your office and starts to make herself comfortable, be brief and say that you're in the middle of a very important project. Then ask if you could get together at a mutually convenient time later in the day.
4. Schedule your telephone calls. Every time the telephone rings it's an interruption. It's okay to let a caller leave a message on your voice mail system or your answering machine. If you do pick up the phone, explain to the caller that you can't talk at that very moment, and ask to schedule a call later that day using these guidelines:
- Each party should write down the time and date of the call.
- Take each other's phone number so you can get in contact if there's a conflict.
- Outline the topic of discussion.
- Determine who will initiate the call.
5. Schedule time to meet with your staff, colleagues and coworkers. In most offices, time is wasted by people getting up from their desks to ask someone else a question. This interrupts the other person's day. Here are some ideas that will help you solve this problem:
Schedule specific times to meet with people.
Have sales and staff meetings later in the week and not the beginning, which drains people of their energy and enthusiasm. As an alternative, have the meetings on Wednesday or Thursday.
Assign tomorrow's work this afternoon. This gives people time to organize tomorrow's work flow and the opportunity to think about what they need to do.
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