Organizing for Maximum Productivity

I am a big believer of organizing every single day to achieve maximum productivity. If you are not intentionally working to achieve maximum productivity, then you are either wasting time or you’re on vacation. If you’re wasting time, then listen in for some tips on how to organize each and every day so that you can accomplish more in less time and with less stress. Here are my six steps on organizing your work day.

  1. For each work day, start the day before by planning your top priorities for the next day.
  2. The day before, schedule time in your calendar for each of your priorities. Estimate the time required for each priority and then multiply it by three. That will be your true time requirement for the priority. Remember to schedule time for breaks, lunch and email.
  3. At the start of each work day, review your calendar and organize your work materials for completing your priorities.
  4. Two or three times per day, check and respond to your email. I check my email first thing in the morning before beginning work, just before lunch and at the end of the day. And, at the end of the day, I have zero items in my email inbox because I have opened every item in my inbox and I have either responded to the item, tagged it for further action, or deleted it. In all instances, when I have acted on an email, I have either deleted it or moved it into one of my personal working folders. The result is zero email items in my inbox at the end of each day.
  5. During the day, work on your priorities as you’ve scheduled them. Take breaks when you need them to re-energize. Lunch is mandatory.
  6. At the end of your work day, repeat the process with step 1.

These six steps are very simple, yet so many people fall into the rut of ignoring their scheduled activities in favour of putting out fires or intentionally looking for distractions. Let’s face it. There will always be something more important or more interesting than working on your top priorities. But there is a cost to distractions. Statistics show that when people are distracted from their work, 45% forget where they left off on their task, 25% forget to return to the original task, and 13% don’t remember what changes they made on the original task. This increases the time necessary to complete the task.

Studies also show that effective task management can reduce the risk of human error by 81%, so it definitely pays to stick to your schedule. The bottom line is that if you don’t manage your day by focusing on achieving your scheduled activities, not only will you consistently fall behind on your  priorities, but you will increase your stress and it will take you more time each time you return to unfinished priorities.

In closing, think about this in relation to your scheduled priorities. If you do them now, you will reap rewards later. If you delay your priorities, you will pay later. I don’t know about you, but I’ll choose rewards over making payments any day.