Take Control of Your Day--Before it Takes Control of You!
It's a given: Nobody gets more than 24 hours in a day. How you spend your waking hours, and how well you fill the number of hours you work, will determine how successful and accomplished you feel at the end of the day. If your to-do list never seems to get done, if you feel like your day is a constant string of interruptions and redirections, it's time to get down to business.
How can you take back your time and use it to its best advantage?
- Figure out your peak operating times.
Everyone has a time (or two) of the day when they are most productive. When are yours? If you know them, optimize your work schedule by planning to do your "heaviest" work during those times.
Look at your to-do list. What do you have to do, as opposed to what you'd like to be doing? Take your must-do tasks and organize them by deadline.
- Block out interruptions by blocking out time.
If you work in an office, you may feel strange telling colleagues when to avoid stopping by, but you may be able to set "office hours" and let them know that in order to be productive, you need to limit interruptions. Let them know when they can and can't stop by your desk with non-urgent questions or requests.
- Just say no to email.
You don't need to respond to emails the minute they arrive. Set aside time several times throughout the day to answer emails and respond to social media updates. Turn off your Outlook, Twitter and Facebook notifications while you're working so you're not constantly being barraged with outside messages.
- Separate work time and personal time.
Once your office hours are over, don't answer business phone calls or emails.
- Prepare yourself.
Before you leave the office, write out your to-do list for the following day. Being organized before you even set foot in the office will make you more productive from the get-go. Don't forget to check off whatever you accomplish!