Do the task you LEAST look forward to first
thing in the morning! Knock out those
high-priority, yucky tasks right away, so they
aren’t hanging over your head all day.
Don’t procrastinate and put them off, or you’ll
end up working late. Throughout the day,
ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time
right now?” As the day grows short, focus
on projects you can least afford to leave
Schedule personal appointments on your
calendar, so you can concentrate on
high-priority projects. Sneak away to a
conference room or empty office if possible, to
minimize the chances for interruptions.
Stop wasting the first hour of your workday!
Having the chat and first cup of coffee, reading
the paper, and socializing are the three
costliest opening exercises that lower
Many times interruptions don’t come from the
outside. We interrupt ourselves, acting
like a butterfly—flitting from one task to
another. It takes valuable time to start
and stop work on each activity. Instead,
act like a postage stamp—stick to one thing
until you get there! Even Montessori
pre-school teachers tell four-year-olds to stick
with a task until it’s done. If kids do
it, you should do it, too.
If you’re procrastinating about starting an
important project, perhaps it’s too daunting.
Try the “salami technique”—break it up into
small slices. Instead of looking at a
large 20-hour project, you can think of it as 10
Because there are so many demands on our time
than ever before, we need to be more selective.
Before starting a task, ask yourself, “Do I
really need to be doing this now, or is there a
better time?” And “Is this the best use of
my time RIGHT now?” By becoming more
conscious of how you spend your time, you can
gain more control over it.
Pay attention to your peak energy times.
The mid-morning hours are often the most
productive and a good time to handle important
tasks, major decisions, and items that require
complex thought. Force yourself to
“knuckle down” and do your work during this
time; we are usually “up” and enjoy socializing
and wasting time instead.
Try to give yourself the first two hours of
your workday to concentrate. Attempt to
steer meeting times around it, let the phone go
to voice mail, don’t check your email, and
schedule later times with drop-in visitors.
You’ll be amazed how much you can accomplish in
two hours of focused concentration.
Sometimes a change of scenery can be a real
productivity booster. The next time you
need a block of uninterrupted time to finish a
report or research a project, move into an empty
office or book a conference room. If your
schedule permits, you may choose to work at home
or at a local library for a couple of days.
A change of scenery not only curbs
interruptions, it also gives you a fresh