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Maximize Your Time: 10 Tips for Extreme Productivity

1) Know your work style and use the right tools and systems. If you are good at technology, use your computer, phone, and apps for scheduling and organization. If you are a visual person, consider using a paper calendar and a written to-do list. If you are a social person, develop a team around you to complement your strengths. If you work alone, find time to focus and stay free from distractions. If you are an early riser, attack the most important tasks earlier in the day.

2) Use ONE calendar. Sometimes people will have multiple calendars: one for family, one for work, and one for personal appointments. Keep ONE calendar for everything. Use different colors or font styles to differentiate between categories. Personally, I am very visual and I remember things better when I write them down, therefore I have a paper calendar for my appointments, but due to the need for dynamic communication I have a Google calendar to support my scheduling, which can appear as two calendars . However, this calendar is a mirror of the paper one and has everything on it. While it is an additional job to have both, it is a calendar (paper or digital) with all the information.

3) Make a to-do list at the end of each day. Your mind naturally begins to work on the list while you sleep. When you wake up, you are ready to work, you are very productive and organized. Estimate how long each task will take and only put on your to-do list for the next day what is reasonable to do.

4) “Eat your frog first.” A Brian Tracy Concept *: First do the hardest thing you need to do all day before doing anything else. Doing this will provide you with the feeling of success in having a “” off your back and the momentum to perform the remaining load-bearing tasks.

5) Have a clear objective; write it down and read it daily. When you have a goal, you know what to focus on and what to work on. If you don’t have this in mind, it’s easy to get sucked into the urgent things of the day or get stuck reacting to other people’s emails, phone calls, interruptions, and emergencies.

6) Have a “power hour.” Designate a time each day to close the door, turn off email, turn off the phone ringer, and protect yourself from interruptions. Have a shortlisted project that you will work on alone during this time. Make sure you go to the bathroom, get a drink, and do whatever you need to to make sure you don’t leave once this hour starts. Please take 30 minutes after this time to return calls, emails, and serve the people you need to follow up with who missed during POWER HOUR.

7) Touch it once. This means email, mail, documents, etc. Touch it and make a decision. File it, throw it away, or put it somewhere for action. Sorting bins are useful for this. Sorting bins usually have labels like: read, file, do this week, urgent, invoices, etc. Also, if the subject lines of the emails are accurate, both you and the recipient will be able to find the email easily. Paper, electronic copy (computer), and email folders must have matching labels.

8) Have everyday clothes. After developing a routine of things that are simple but important, your body will do them naturally. This is important because we can get distracted by our regular routines and use them as vices to interrupt, procrastinate, and prolong the important things that really need to be done. By starting your day right, you’ll be ready to tackle those urgent and important tasks, increasing your daily productivity.

9) Pre-preparation. Have you ever been surprised on cooking shows how they make a complicated dish in 10 minutes? Okay, the part is edited TV time, but they also have everything set up for a quick montage. why not do the same? Prepare your information packages and new customer folders, convert common documents into a template, set up email groups / distribution lists for teams, and more.

10) Maximize the car’s systems. Listen to an audio book to maximize your time on the windshield and learn. Have a container to put important things, instead of having them all over the car. Have a garbage bag to collect the liter. Always carry a bottle of water with you in the car; dehydration causes fatigue, memory loss, and poor concentration. Make sure your contacts are portable (e.g. phone, address book, business card file book) so you can have people and numbers at your fingertips (so you can call if you’re late, stuck in traffic, etc. ). Enjoy relaxing, breathing, and spending the day while driving (instead of cleaning, talking on the phone, etc.)

When you implement a few simple productivity strategies and develop them as time-saving habits, you will quickly enjoy the benefit of more time and energy and overall higher productivity.

* Tracy, Brian. Eat that frog! 21 ways to stop procrastinating and get more done in less time. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2001

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