I often talk about the need to take control of your time. Too often we come to the office and just “do stuff”, which means that your day is driving you.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.” Yogi Berra
Sometimes when I talk about this subject I see heads nodding, the recognition that what I am saying makes sense … but all too often people don’t change how they operate.
“The only possible way to have it ALL is with structure and the discipline to keep to it, to make it a routine.” Margot Hattingh
Here are some ideas about exactly HOW you can drive your day using goals, routines and priorities.
Set some goals… they can be your own or set by the company. g. If you are in sales you may have a goal that supports meeting your sales quota. If you are a recruiter you might have a goal of interviewing 2 people a day. Other examples might be learning goals (1 one hour seminar a month etc.) or numbers of people to talk with or meet with.
Understand which tasks have the highest priority related to your job. If you are in sales they might be client meetings or calls; if you are a recruiter it might be conversations with candidates or interviews. These tasks will be the ones that have the most impact. These are “A” type priority items.
Understand what the mandatory “other tasks” are in your job. These might be internal reporting, meetings with your boss etc. These will be “B” type priority items.
Create your Master To Do list. I always suggest having this separate from your notebook (or wherever you capture notes). I like to capture what I have done in my notebook, and keep a separate list of things I need to do. Identify which are high priority tasks, which are
Create a standard “start of day” routine with reminders generated in your calendar. These could be “Start of Day routine” … review To Dos; identify what to do that day; book time in calendar for specific tasks (more later). This should be done BEFORE opening email or listening to voicemail. It should be revised if necessary after those tasks.
Create a standard “end of day” routine(again with reminders) Review To Do’s; Identify calendar items for next day & any required preparation; celebrate completing tasks etc.
Create a standard end of week routine; a standard end of month routine (that might include monthly report generation etc.)
Measure yourself against your goals regularly … as it makes sense. If your goal is to have 10 client meetings a week, then you can measure that every day … meetings you have had plus those planned gives you a shortfall to correct.
Always put the emphasis on high return (A type priorities).
Build time into your day for the “B type” activities.
Build time into your day for breaks.
When NOT on a break focus on work!
If you can do that you will be driving your day.
“Goals are the fuel in the furnace of achievement.” Brian Tracy
What did I miss? What else could you do?