We are coming to the second last part of this chapter. I hope you find it useful so far, as I notice a few comments coming through on my email.
Let me use another analogy.
If you have never driven a sports car and never really had any experience driving one, it does not matter whether you have a license, know which buttons to press and when to change gears, as you would not be good in doing it, and you would not win the Grand Prix either. Make sure you know your goal, the Grand Prix. Find your trusted system for this particular job that needs to get done (e.g. if you never fly on a plane for work, what is the point of an offline reading list), and get going. Practise as you go along so you soon can drive that sports car and win the Grand Prix.
Additionally, do not try every promised productivity tool. Trust me, you will not need them all. Whilst I try a few tools at an early stage, I have a keen interest. Wait until a few people have tried the tools and pending trusted feedback, try to use them yourself. Not only do you save money, you also save time. Actually quite simple.
Time Management is really a buzzword these days. When I started being organised, age 10 or so, and I mentioned that before, I used to write my homework down for the day it was due not the day I got it. This way I could see what I had to do for a certain day rather than doing everything I got on my to-do list that day. This was 25+ years ago. Then prioritise and see the bigger picture.
There are some lists I use like the to-do house list, of things I need to work on around the house. It is great to put things down but….you need to re-visit the list and tick off the things you wanted to do.
Prioritising is difficult. The main thing is that you look what needs to get done by when and then by which priority. We all have 24 hours only in a day and get paid for 8 hours a day. We all go the extra mile but have a life outside work. Some days are better than others and if you are on a roll, why not do an extra hour and finish a project. But if you think you have to work until late at night every night, then there is likely to be something wrong with your productivity.
Important is to make sure your employer is happy with flexible working hours and if you are a manager, you usually work longer hours anyway to make sure you get all your things done. Having mid project stepping stones and progress checks are important. Again this depends on the project but for instance if you work on a proposal for a client across several departments, then work out a critical path and make sure all stakeholders deliver in time for you to put together the final project.
Sometimes the waiting is the hardest part (Tom Petty was singing about that), but have little things to do whilst waiting. Like checking a website, read a short article over a cup of coffee or signing off some bills. If you have an assistant make sure s/he puts all the things you need to sign off on one pile and when it gets time critical or if it takes you 10 or 15 minutes, then you get a nudge. This is more efficient than signing off every bill or payment you get at the time. Again, if you have common sense, these things come natural to you.
If not, hire a coach!
Other things include keeping admin and longer emails you need to think about until late at night as you can work undisturbed. I normally like to do them first thing in the morning as I have a fresh mind and do them before my inbox fills up again. This shows my personal preference again. I know a lot of people working until late at night whilst I try to keep the hours from 7 pm to 5 am to myself. But it is not unheard of that people get emails from me at 3 or 5 am when I am up and my mind is buzzing with some ideas.
I wrote about the 5am start before and really enjoy that routine.
Key is to have this system in place as it puts you ahead of the game. You have a trusted system, you do not let emails get the better of you and you have clear communication guidelines and principles and last but not least a goal to work towards to with a prioritised to-do list.
Sounds to good to be true. It is actually that easy.
From my point of view, put a good few weeks into the system and trial it properly, amend it, fine tune it and once it is set up, use it like a perfectionist. You never look back. You never ever miss an email again.
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