I was reminded of juggling priorities recently when I experienced them crash down around me. It got me thinking about productivity and the tornado of activities we sometimes find ourselves wrapped up in. At times it seems like an ever increasing juggernaut of to – do’s and impossible deadlines. Looking back though, I realized that the slippery slope I was racing down was much of my own doing. Here’s how I got back on track.
Think big pic
It’s easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. I realized that I had become too lost in the vortex of details and tasks which only increased as I got further from the big pic. By re-focusing on my main priorities, I was able to get clear again on which tasks weren’t pressing, which could be handed off and which simply weren’t strategic. And indeed a great deal of productivity is lost because people can get caught up in directions or efforts that just aren’t essential to the big pic.
See your goals
While it may sound trite, getting clear on your goals helps immensely. So often people leave strategic planning sessions and get lost again in the swirl of usual activity. By creating a visual reminder of top priorities, people are helped to stay on track. This can involve something as simple as placing your top goals somewhere where they are easily viewed. A binder on your shelf, or a file on your computer, is often as good as hiding them. They need to be reviewed frequently. One senior manager I was working with recently put his yearly goals on his screen saver. This really helped him to stay focused on the big pic.
Put time in your schedule to review your weekly and daily ‘most important tasks’ (MITs). At the end of each week, list your top MITs for the coming week and schedule them in before launching off for the weekend. Review this again first thing Monday a.m. Each day before heading home, create a list of 1-3 MIT’s for the following day then review first thing next morning. These habits not only help you reach your goals but set your mind at ease that you’re actually doing something and moving forward. And that feels mighty good.
Do not disturb
Okay, the research is in…multitasking is not the ideal way of working, especially if you’re needing to get that big project in. Creative juices flow when a bit of reflection and focused time is applied. So close your door, let folks know that unless a space ship has landed, you do not want to be disturbed. Better yet, have a work from home day once a week. The results will surprise you. You’ll be happier and more will get done.
So what works for you? What tips do you have for getting things done? How do you stay on track amidst the flurry of requests and to-do’s?