We all wish we were more effective, but few of us really take the time to learn ways to accomplish this goal. Try these strategies. You might gain back an hour or more of your day like I did.
Stop Looking at Your Phone
Yes, you are addicted to your phone. The first step is admitting you have a problem. Turn off your beeps, banners, and buzzes.
Write Your Most Important Goal on Your White Board
This strategy helps avoid constant task switching. The most important project on my plate gets the bulk of my attention for the week. I write it on my big dry erase board.
I also go one step further and email it to my boss at the beginning of the week. That is my public accountability. I don't get to move on until that project is complete. When I keep emailing the same goal week after week, it gets really awkward if I am not making progress. If you are your own boss, pick a friend or even an assistant. You just need an accountablity partner. The fear of public humiliation is a great motivator!
Treat Your Email like Snail Mail
Think if we received snail mail at home the same way we received email. For every piece of mail you sift through in your mailbox, 90% of it is junk mail. Imagine checking your home mailbox every five minutes and letting every pizza coupon & credit card application interrupt you. How long does it take you to get through your mail at home? Probably about five minutes? That is because you are doing it all at once and quickly determining what requires your attention and what is junk.
Let your emails collect, and then sort through it all at once instead of letting them constantly disctract you. I know that's scary. What if something important or urgent comes in? These messages only feel urgent because they keep you busy, but is not the kind of busy you want to be. Also, don't stop at an important email to complete it. Get through all of your emails leaving the ones that need attention. You can then go back through and priortize what is left.
Leave Your Out-of-Office On All the Time
If you are brave enough, try this last one. Leave your out-of-office on all the time and put something like this as your automatic reply:
Thanks for your email.
In an effort to stay focused on my most important tasks, I have turned off all of my notifications. If you feel this matter is urgent and important, please call me directly.
I check my email twice a day and respond to requests as their urgency and importance demand.
Talk to you soon!
I know. Crazy, right? Be a Boss and take back control of your time.
Your document processes can probably use some efficiency improvements too. To learn some ways to improve your office document efficiency, contact us.