Do you know the feeling: When you come into the office in the morning - despite your to-do list - you’re getting sidetracked more or less immediately?
By this colleague coming into your office with this super urgent request to come up with the latest numbers of sales for the last couple of weeks
Or you check your mails first thing in the morning (maybe even before you get out of bed?) and there is that urgent meeting and tons of mails from people demanding your attention
You get my gist.
And when the day is over you’ve probably not finished half of what you had on your agenda.
I almost bet you know the feeling. I did. And I am still struggling with it from time to time if I don't pay enough attention or let myself being distracted from my daily routines.
So just imagine you could actually get your important stuff done, you could work on your projects as planned and your overall productivity would sky rocket suddenly...
You might say now – hey, what an unrealistic dream! THIS situation will never change...and you know what? You are right in one way: The distractions, interruptions and demands will probably always be there...but the key is how you react to them.
As you are not a victim to those circumstances but you can choose your reactions to whatever comes towards you. Really. Try it out.
So here are the top 3 tips to regain control of your agenda again to make sure you got your important things done, that you have taken action to progress with your most important projects:
1. Do. Never. Read. Your.E-mail. First Thing. In. The. Morning. You have probably heard that a thousand times, however it is really valid. So no harm in repeating it - are you there yet? I NEVER check my e-mails first thing in the morning. In actual fact I get up, do my morning exercise routine: No running as I hate that – but stretching and if it’s not too cold even on the balcony. Fresh air really wakes you up in the morning. Followed by lemon water and often a smoothie before I even get ready is a great start in the day...then planning for the day, some reading and then e-mails. So in short – take care of yourself, get tuned for the day and know what you want to accomplish before you even open your mails.
2. Say no more often. Set boundaries. Helping is super great, but unless somebody dies or something breaks if you don't take care of it, it is NOT urgent. Tell people around you – be it your team or your family – that you don’t want to be disturbed, when you are working on this project, this paper or whatever it is you plan to progress with.
3. Have a plan. If you don't have one right now, make one! Not just for the day, but for the week – that gives you a completely different context and your daily objectives start making sense and are not just a to-do list. Get more strategic in terms of your goals. Think about the big picture you’re trying to get to and break it down into smaller bits. Make those a priority in your day.
Plan your priorities, don’t prioritize your plan.
Makes sense, doesn't it?
Don't allow those distractions to overtake your day. Having this plan in place will re-focus you, even if they come. And to some of them you will still have to attend, as they might be important and have to be prioritized. But don't let urgency rule your day - that kills progress.
Have a look into your calendar. Do you have blocked time for important stuff you want to accomplish? Does it reflect your goals? If not, start right now. And then you'll suddenly progress with this project which is probably not urgent, but important, as it brings you to the next level of success. Or simplifies a process. Or whatever it is that is getting better.
And the feeling of accomplishment coming along with it is just heavenly.