The weather is still acting like summer and it still feels like the weekend flew by. My alarm goes off, I usually whine, hit snooze, and roll over…about 3 more times until I actually get out of bed. I dash out the door at the speed of lightening (wondering if I remembered to take the scarf off my head) only to drag through the work doors. Sound familiar? I know I can't be the only one. Recently I’ve changed my mindset about the beginning of the work week. Mondays and Tuesdays are actually like new beginnings to start off right, try something new, and a chance to be more productive. I'm always striving to be better in my role at work and one of the keys to being great at what you do is knowing how to get things done. So put your hair up, roll up those sleeves, and let’s get to work! Here are my 7 tips on how to be more productive and get shit done:
1. Clear your mental and physical space. Come to work with a clear mind. On the way to work, I pray, listen to trap music (yes, I love Jesus & trap music-don't judge) or practice deep breathing. Do whatever you need to do to focus on tackling your day. This also includes clearing your desk or work station of clutter or anything that will distract you.
2. Make a plan before you do anything else! Write down your most important projects or goals for the week then create a to-do list for each. Organize tasks by what’s most urgent. Keep in mind what tasks need to be done for the week and the current day. Next, block off time on your calendar to actually complete the task. Don’t forget to include time for breaks or lunch.
9:00am-9:15am To-do list
9:15am-9:45am Send follow- up Emails
9:45am-10:00am Prep for team meeting
10:00am-11:00am Team Meeting
3. Send emails early. Usually email is the first thing people look at when they get to work. If I need to send an email, especially to someone in a leadership position who is always busy, I send it before 10am to get a quick response. Otherwise, it may get lost in the shuffle. If needed, I draft the email the evening before so all I have to do is press send as soon as I get to work.
4. Stop trying to juggle. You’re not a circus act. Multitasking can be good but for most projects, you need to block time off on your calendar and ONLY focus on that. You’ll get things done a lot quicker by sticking to one thing in your scheduled amount of time.
5. Create a system and USE IT! Color code your calendar, have file folders or notebooks for each committee/project so that you can grab it with all of your necessary information in one place. And save time at the end of the week to get rid of extra copies or other paper you don’t need.
6. Get rid of distractions. When you need to focus on getting things done, turn off the email notifications that pop up on your computer screen whenever you get a message. Put your personal cell on silent or mute your GroupMe messages (my friends and family love to send me messages throughout the work day like I don’t have a dang job!).
7. Save time at the end of your work day. I typically don’t complete tasks right up until 5:00pm (depending on the day). Stop about 10-15 minutes before, if possible. Don’t answer another phone call or return another email unless it can’t wait until tomorrow. At the end of my day, I review my to-do list to see what I completed and identify what needs to be a priority for the next day. I also update my calendar. You can use this time to reflect on your day, what went well and what you can do differently tomorrow.
If you’re like me, this is probably the time where you trade in your Kate Spade work bag for your Marvel Superwoman cape. Before I leave work, I also start writing a to-do list for what needs to be done at home.
All in all, getting shit done requires you to be focused, disciplined, and organized. Let me know what tips you use to be productive at work. Share in the comments below!