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Your to-do list is pilling up. Unfinished projects are spilling over from yesterday and upcoming deadlines loom on the horizon. You have a million things to do and only a few hours to do it in. Where do you even begin?
Organizing your daily schedule can seem like an overwhelming task. Yet, effectively organizing your day to maximize productivity doesn’t have to be stressful, in fact, all it takes is a simple plan.
Think Before You Do
What does the start of your day look like? Do you grab for the first to-do item on the top of your desk or answer the latest email in your inbox, regardless of its urgency or importance? The grab-and-go method isn’t a particularly effective way to get the day rolling, yet for many of us, we find ourselves falling into the what’s-in-front-of-us-at-the-moment system.
By taking a few minutes to plan your daily schedule first thing, you can prioritize your tasks by urgency, making sure that the most important items aren’t being overlooked. Using a calendar or daily planner and plugging-in your top priorities and tasks will provide you with a road map to keep you moving along throughout the day. Simply taking five minutes to plan where you are going and what you want to accomplish will make a huge difference in how much you can get done each day.
Do The Most Important Thing First
Many of us waste the first few hours of our day on “busy work,” you know the kind, reading emails, visiting Facebook, checking out what’s trending on Reddit. While these tasks might be important to your business, they can often suck up your time as you wander down the rabbit hole that is the online world. One click leads to another and before you know it, you’ve wasted your entire morning.
For most people, their willpower tends to be higher earlier in the day. Diving right into your work means you’ll be putting your best energy into your most important task, rather than wasting it on busy work. As the day rolls along, you’ll often find that unexpected tasks will fall onto your plate, leaving less room for the tasks left on your to-do list. When you do the most important thing first every day, you create room for the unexpected while still maintaining maximum productivity toward your top priorities.
So leave the busy work until later in the day and get your important tasks out of the way first thing. Productivity is not about getting more done everyday, it’s about getting important things done consistently.
Batch Your Tasks
Batching is a workflow process where you dedicated blocks of time to similar tasks to increase focus and productivity. For example, rather than writing a blog post here and a post there, you write all your blog posts for the week every Monday. Batching is simply collecting like tasks to do all at once instead of doing every trivial task as soon as it hits your to-do list.
In addition to helping you stay focused, batching can also help you break larger tasks into bite-sized action items. For example, in creating my upcoming ecourse, I batched each step of the process into several smaller steps such as gathering my research, creating my outline for every day of the course, writing the course instructions for each day, and compiling and creating graphics and supplemental material. Batching the entire project into smaller similar steps meant I was able to work through the entire course more effectively as I was not repeating steps over and over again each day.
Batching also has the added benefit of keeping you on-task more frequently. Remember earlier when we talked about about how productivity was not about getting more done everyday, it’s about getting important things done consistently? Constantly skipping around from project to project throughout the day can be distracting. Contrary to popular belief, multitasking is not an efficient work strategy. You can only truly focus on one thing at a time, and batching allows you to stay in one mindset and work through multiple tasks. This is very different from multi-tasking, which we’ll go into next week.
Productivity is all about efficiency, getting more things done more often. Outlining your priorities, getting your most important items done first and batching the rest of your tasks will help you make huge strides in giving your day a productive boost.
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