Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.
Start by setting the alarm for your daily planning session at the same time every day. Tack your new daily planning session onto an existing habit like drinking your morning coffee.
Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.
A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.
'Eat the Frog' is an excellent productivity method for putting your highlight into action early.
It is often the task we most want to avoid (therefore, eating the frog). It could be a task that feels too big or makes us uncomfortable. During your planning session, put your "frog" at the top of your to-do list and assign a time. Then add your other tasks below.
This method is best for people who enjoy working in short, focused sprints with frequent breaks. It forces you to consider how long your work will take.
With the Time Blocking method, split your day into distinct blocks of time. Then, dedicate each block of time to completing only a specific task or set of tasks.
Ensure to include blocks for things like lunch, breaks, and commutes for the most accuracy. If a task takes less or more time, make modifications to your list to gain a better understanding of how long tasks take.
The Eisenhower Matrix productivity method lets you consider the urgency and importance of each task. This method breaks tasks into four quadrants and prescribes how we should deal with tasks in each block.
To start, create your regular to-do list, then sort them into the four categories. Once completed, act on your to-do list accordingly: do, schedule, delegate, and delete tasks from your to-do list.
Now that you've decided on the productivity approach, it's time to pick your tools:
Make time for a weekly review to consider whether your planning process is working or could be tweaked. Consider these questions:
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Time commitment to get started: Low
Perfect for people who: Tend to put off important items, resulting in missed deadlines or rushed work.
What it does: Helps to avoid procrastination while ensuring that you make progress on the right things.
To get started, schedule your daily tasks from hardest to easiest. You’ll get your most important, intimidating, anxiety-inducing tasks (aka your frog) done while your energy is high and your day will get progressively better. You’re likely to find the overall quality of your work improves too.
Time commitment to get started: Medium
Type: Abstract, visual
Perfect for people who: Need to prioritize tasks, but tend to go for lists over graphs.
What it does: Prioritizes your tasks by urgency, ensures that you’re accomplishing the right things.
Write down everything you have to do and then identify each as a Must, a Should, or a Want.
Your Must tasks are non-negotiable. “Pay rent” — that’s a Must if it’s the first of the month.
A Should is something you need to do, but it’s not dire that it be done today. Answering certain emails may be a Should.
A Want is something you’d like to do, but might not be practical or necessary at the moment.
We usually give priority to unimportant tasks when there is a sense of urgency around them.
We’re actually psychologically wired to put aside important tasks in favor of ta...
A few explanations as to why it’s so hard to reject urgent tasks:
The problem is that we’re continually bombarded with urgent work: emails, meetings, calls, and instead of being in control of our time and attention, we respond and act on someone else’s priorities.
The antidote to chronic overwhelm is accepting that you cannot do it all.
Prioritizing means embracing the limits of your time and your energy, and taking back control of y...
There are some general areas that all of us should prioritize in order to function well and generally make life worthwhile. These areas are:
Intentionally take your focus away from distracting areas in your life.
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