It is a VERY common situation, that happens to ALL of us!
However … the most successful people will recognise they have fallen into this pattern and will correct it, so that they are spending their time on productive activities and they KNOW where their time went.
If you want to be like those successful people, then here is what you could try …
1. Understand what are the tasks that are productive … (try Covey’s simple quadrant tool to help). Is it important? Is it urgent?
If it is important and urgent it will probably be at the top of your list (oops … getting ahead of myself)
If it is not important it probably shouldn’t be on your list … even if it is urgent! (Organising a birthday present for your spouse’s birthday might be urgent, and it might be important in your personal life … but is it really where you should be spending your productive work hours? If you know what is good for you it should probably be high on your personal “To Do list”!)
2. Now that you have identified the important stuff you can create a “To Do List” … with a BIG focus on the important stuff.
3. Pick the tasks you will work on, but also track the “other tasks” you complete during your day.
You now have focused on important tasks, you know what you are working on at any given time AND you can tell what you worked on today (and yesterday) because you tracked it.
4. If you REALLY want to maximise your productivity you will review those lists regularly and revise your estimate of what is important, and focus MORE time on the important stuff … then you might just be so efficient that you get out of the office on time and still meet all of your commitments!
My blog post called Personal productivity … it IS one thing within your control, is a good source of ideas and points to several other sources of time management tips, if this is an area that you would like to work at! (It also shows the Covey quadrant.)
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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