Productivity Tips

- Add Power to your Life with a To Do List -

A to do list connotes procrastination because it’s only a list of intentions. To be effective, build a results list at the beginning of each day and label it results list! This is a list of outcomes you will create with the investment of your time and energy. Make the listed results absolutely specific. For example, “call twenty clients”, not “call clients”.

At the end of the day you’ll have measureable results for your effort. You will also feel a sense of self management power because you were effective. Power is the ability to produce effect. Power is the ability to get results. Make each day a powerful day with results lists.

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- Playing Tag as a Child Was Fun. Telephone Tag Is Not! -

For sure, playing telephone tag is a time-waster. So why play? Make a change by setting telephone appointments and honoring them. If you can’t take the time to talk with somebody who just called you, say so and set an appointment to call them back, rather than just say, “I’ll call you back.”

When responding by voicemail, don’t just leave a message, leave some best times to reach you. And above all, avoid irritating others by saying your number so fast it’s hard to understand, forcing them to waste time by replaying your message over and over to get your number.

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- You Can Have the Best of Both Planning Times -

Some will agree the best time to plan your day is early in the morning. That way, your mind has had a chance to incubate ideas during the night. Also you’ll be more refreshed. Others say the best time to plan is the night before. You’ll be under less pressure. Then when you arise you’ll be able to hit the street running.

One of our clients uses a different approach and for him it is very effective. He said “I split my planning time. I spend fifteen minutes creating an initial plan the night before, and then I validate it with fifteen more minutes of planning in the morning.” That way he capitalizes on the benefits of both morning and evening planning. Do you like the idea?

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- Activities Rule, Not The Clock! -

An activity is something we do. An activity is the basic unit of our life’s design. Results are determined by the activities we choose and how we arrange to get them done.

How well do you choose and arrange your daily activities? In business, select activities that are essential for the existence, continuation, and the well-being of your organization or your family. Avoid trivial activities.

Here are four activity selection questions you can apply on a daily basis.

Is this activity a step toward the achievement of a goal?
Is this activity a good time investment?
If I don’t do the activity, who will it affect and will anyone suffer?
Is the activity necessary for the existence, continuation or well-being of the organization?

Knowing what to choose and what to refuse is what it’s about. Activities rule, not the clock. The clock is nothing more than a measurement tool. Learn to be a good activity chooser!

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- Leverage Your Mind! Use it for Thinking, not Remembering -

There is not only more to do these days, but more to remember. When your mind is cluttered with things you are trying to remember, it is not as free to focus on vital work activities.

Solution? Pick a time management tool that works best for you (either paper or electronic.) Then, be meticulous about entering all appointments, dates, deadlines, and important information.

Make it a habit to carry it with you and let the tool do your remembering for you. Freeing your mind this way should help you increase your focus and reduce stress.

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- Personal Productivity Tip -

Want to accelerate your personal productivity? Use blank spaces of time well. A blank space of time is anytime you are waiting for others or you are put on hold for any reason. Perhaps you are waiting for a meeting to start. Blank spaces can be used in two general ways.

One, use them to complete mini tasks that might take only a few minutes. Always have something with you that you could be working on or carry an article with you to read.

Or two, use them to manage your energy level. It often takes only five minutes or so to win back energy. Change a routine; take a walk around the building, do stretching or some deep breathing. These techniques can work wonders. It’s just as important to manage your energy as it is to manage your time. Blank spaces of time are golden opportunities. Don't let them go to waste.

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