The key to becoming a productivity machine is flexible structure.
Here’s how to get it done so you can peace out by Friday at 2pm.
This is the day to get your week set up for success. You don’t need to accomplish EVERYTHING today… but you do need to make a solid to-do list so you can get a handle on your workflow. (If your week is looking especially crazy, I recommend spending an hour or two Sunday to go through email and make your to-do list. That way, you don’t already feel behind the 8 ball when you walk in Monday morning.)
On Monday, pick one priority and work towards its completion OR a couple of smaller tasks that will help you build momentum for the week. (Not both – you’ll end up feeling burnt out and crazy.) Checking to-dos off your list will give you a little lift that will make you feel like your Monday was solid and accomplished.
Regarding Monday morning meetings…
Just don’t. Please. For the love of God, please. (Can you tell I feel strongly about this?)
Push meetings until afternoon. You (and your team) needs to get in, get settled, and get focused. Monday morning meetings instantly de-evolve into “what did you do this weekend” and other inane chit chat. It’s a time waster for people who just want to kick the tires.
Ain’t nobody got time for that.
After you’ve made your to-do list, look at the meetings you need to schedule for the week. Contact the people you know you need to talk to this week – clients, vendors, and internal meetings. Get the meetings you need on your calendar so the week doesn’t get away from you.
TUESDAY – THURSDAY
One word: Execution.
Do it. Make it. Create it. Press publish.
This is your sprint. This is what you’ve been waiting for. It’s your time to shine, and no one else can do it but you.
On Wednesday, check your to-do list. How are you doing? Have priorities changed? Where are you spinning your wheels, and how can you make them stop? Take a look at the resources at your disposal, especially colleagues. Sometimes talking it out helps shake something loose. (When I get stuck, I know it’s probably because I’m too close to the problem, and so it becomes THE PROBLEM.) Getting another perspective helps almost always helps.
Ask yourself: What HAS to be accomplished by the end of the day? What can wait? Chances are, you’ve had a highly productive week. Recognize when your brain needs a break.
Friday is a great day for house keeping, inspiration, and socializing.
Clean out your desk. Watch that YouTube video that had to wait. Linger longer near the coffee pot or water cooler to catch up with a co-worker.
Another tip: Don’t schedule meetings after noon. (This is another pet peeve of mine.) Your team is tired, and most likely, no one is on their A-game. If the future of your company isn’t hanging in the balance, consider pushing the meeting until Monday afternoon, when everyone will be rested, more creative, and more clear.
Then, around 2pm… get the hell out of there. This is your carrot at the end of the stick you’ve been chasing all week. Enjoy it.
Take the team out to lunch. Go on a long walk. Take a nap (my favorite!) Whatever it is, this is the time to “treat yo’self.”
After all, look at everything you accomplished this week. You are an impressive human being that has the hustle of a true champion.
What’s YOUR biggest productivity pet peeve? Mine is Monday morning and Friday afternoon meetings. Which office distractions get under your skin and make you feel CRAZY?