Everyone seems to be struggling mightily to get everything done. I've observed this while working with hundreds of companies around the country. How can people be productive with the workload that they have and in the time that they have available?
Many people seem to be overwhelmed and struggling to get it all done personally and professionally. Do you often feel that way?
Here are six specific tips and techniques that will help you be more productive every day:
1. Put goals in writing
Yes, I know you have heard this before. It is critical to have written goals because, lets face it, how can you be productive if you don't know why?
If you're productive what is it that you're trying to produce? You certainly can't hit a target if you don't know what it is.
If you have goals written down for the year you can then take those and spread them across a quarter, a month, a week and a day. Written goals help you have a tremendous focus on what it is you're trying to accomplish.
2. Prioritize and "calendar-ize"
As a professional speaker I often tell audiences that they need to prioritize and "calendar-ize". Yes, I know one of these is not a word, but I use it to make a point.
To be massively productive you need to decide on your priorities, and they need to be on your calendar. We all know that if they do not go into your calendar and are not likely to happen because we forget about them.
When you put them on your calendar, they automatically become a priority.
3. Make agendas for meetings
If you're going to meet with someone, one way to be remarkably more productive is to have a written agenda that you create and send to the other person in advance.
Agendas help in your preparation and also make sure that your meetings stay on track. When I was a vice president in corporate America, I asked that all the people who reported to me bring an agenda for the meetings so that we could focus on a few specific topics.
I notice that when I meet with people and give them an agenda, they follow it closely and check items off as we cover them. I also believe that having an agenda shows that you're credible and prepared.
4. Plan your day the night before
If it is Sunday evening and you're going to work on Monday, you should plan the week before it happens. That way when the sun comes up, you have a track to run on.
I highly recommend following this technique throughout the week planning before you leave work for the next day. This way when you arrive at work, there is no delay in getting started.
You start knowing what it is you need to achieve, and it is a great feeling.
5. Control interruptions
We live in an ADD world, and it seems as if we are getting interrupted every few minutes. That makes it very hard to focus and concentrate.
Highly productive people spare no effort to control interruptions that happen in person, by phone by instant message and by email.
If someone comes to their office unannounced and ask them if they "have a minute" they ask them to get back at a later time so they can finish.
They consistently stay focused all day long on controlling interruptions to the greatest extent that they can.
6. Negotiate on time
When someone asked them to provide something as soon as possible, they negotiate a different time frame to buy more time. Just because someone asks for something does not necessarily mean we have to provide it right away.
So every morning it's a new day, and it's up to you to manage it so you can be highly productive.