Add time to your day
How to stay motivated and maximize productivity.
Organization is one of my favorite topics. I like the idea of being more purposeful and proactive, and have found that implementing just one new idea can increase productivity and favorably alter the course of my day and beyond. Here are a few time-saving suggestions:
Top five. What are the top five things you need to accomplish today? Writing down five to six tasks in order of importance, at the end of each day, will create focus. Work through each task until complete and rollover unfinished tasks to the following day. Consolidating and reviewing a short priority list brings momentum and strategy. This five task system is called the Ivy Lee Method for which he was paid $25,000 in 1918 by the founder of Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the then largest shipbuilder and the second-largest steel producer in the U.S.1
First thing. Creating a set of non-negotiable tasks or reordering tasks can help make a day more productive. What are your most dreaded tasks? Putting certain tasks ahead of others can help make a day more productive. For example, getting started on that overwhelming project, dreaded phone call or tedious to-do will end a potential cycle of distraction and procrastination, and motivate you to accomplish more! As Michael Hyatt so aptly recommended, "Slay your dragons before breakfast."2
Eliminate distractions. In 2019, U.S. adults spent an average of 2 hours per day on social media.3 Increased connectivity can either work for you or against you, increase productivity or add stress caused by thoughts of what you are not accomplishing. Minimize notifications and batch routine tasks like checking email or social media, as it tends to make your day more reactionary, and problem rather than goal centric. Mornings present the ideal opportunity to focus on more difficult, productive and creative objectives that a fresh mind can easily accomplish.4
Create timelines. Don’t allow yourself all the time in the world to get it done! Unfinished tasks are a drain. Setting deadlines increases the likelihood of success by as much as 11.5 times.5 Establish strategic deadlines to create a critical metric for success, clarify purpose, define accountability, spur positive performance and help achieve the desired outcome.
Time is valuable. Making minor adjustments or adding a new habit can increase productivity, motivate and add focus.