The first Monday back after a long weekend is the perfect time to experiment with new productivity-boosting habits. Here are seven that you can embrace immediately, and if you are fast and focused, you could complete all of them before you finish your first cup of coffee.
1. Write down daily goals.
The act of writing down your goals for the day with a pen and paper will force you to clarify what you want to achieve, and if you leave them where you can see them throughout the day, they will act as a reminder to keep you on track.
2. Ditch 20 percent of your meetings.
When some leaders show me their calendar, it can look like an impossible incomplete jigsaw puzzle where they have lost the image on the box they are trying to create. Take a look at your week ahead and cancel at least 20 percent of your meetings that are superfluous to your goals or that you can delegate to your team. Priorities often change, and calendars need to change just as fast with them.
3. Create silence.
Use some of that freed-up time to block out space on your calendar for silence and open space, where you can just think and not do.
4. Pick up the phone.
Call someone who energizes and inspires you and arrange to spend time with him or her.
5. Don't pre-worry.
Stop excessively preparing in your head. Don't overly plan; jump into action, as wasting energy is a greater drain on productivity than wasting time.
6. Be sensibly selfish.
Prioritize two selfish acts every day just for you (perhaps the gym, your favorite hobby, time with a friend, or a new book).
7. Create an end-of-day ritual.
Don't let the beeps and buzzes of your phones and devices create a never-ending workday for you. Build a new end-of-day ritual where you take 15 minutes to review your goals, write down what you've accomplished, and plan for tomorrow.
To boost your productivity you need to be ruthless, in a thoughtful way, about how you spend your time, your energy, and your resources. You can learn more about these seven habits and much more in my forthcoming book Thoughtfully Ruthless: The Key to Exponential Growth (Wiley, May 2016).
How can you use the return from your long weekend to adopt new habits? Pick one and experiment before your day starts.