What are some of the best-kept secrets of maintaining a productive workflow? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.
There's no one-size-fits-all approach to being more productive and efficient with your time. Whether you're an early bird, a night owl, juggling multiple jobs or just looking to manage your personal priorities, the best practices are those that are realistic and fit within your lifestyle.
In my experience, the most productive people are purposeful. How? By being clear on their goals and priorities. Deciding on your goals for a given week or day is important because it lets you define how your time will be spent, and make sure deliverables are aligned and feasible. At the beginning of each day, review your schedule and make sure what you're doing (the tasks, meetings, etc. you have planned) matches those goals. At the end of the day, review what you've accomplished and start arranging the next day to include rollover from the previous day, along with new tasks and other pre-existing priorities.
Another productivity best practice is to ask questions about any task, meeting or project that is assigned to you. Remember - you're in the driver's seat of your day. Empower yourself by asking requestors "why am I in needed in this upcoming meeting?" or "what am I expected to contribute to this project?" Don't be shy. I've asked bosses "can you please give me a little bit more context to make sure that I'm spending my time in the best way?" This ensures you are spending your time on tasks that are valuable and contributing to the overall goal, versus creating work about work, and it shows others that you're results-driven.
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