Looking at the entirety of your to-do list, or the deadlines for your day or week, can feel overwhelming. At times, it can even be difficult to prioritize which task should come first. Especially when you allow yourself to become consumed by the numerous interruptions each day can bring. Here are five questions you can ask yourself that can help you stay on task while boosting your productivity.
1. What is one result or accomplishment I want to see happen from my work today?
- Instead of seeing many accomplishments all at once, try narrowing down to just one result you would like to see as the primary focus. Use it as an underlying theme for the work day ahead of you.
- When you catch your mind wandering off task, remind yourself of the number one goal for the day.
- Perhaps you desire to complete one revenue-generating task and one non-revenue task for the day as the priority.
- The desired result could also be not to feel stressed at the end of the day. You can then look to question 2 and 3 and focus on creating a schedule of your most stressful tasks for separate days.
2. What is the one activity I can focus on that will lead to my desired result?
- Now that you have narrowed down the main goal for the day, think of the one activity that would most likely lead to the desired accomplishment.
- Example: Perhaps working on the most time-sensitive item can be done first thing in the morning, while items like emails, returning less important phone calls, etc., can be done toward the end of the day.
3. How long should I focus on this one activity?
- The length of time allocated for the activity should be realistic—not too long and not too short. Leaving too much space for one activity will not be an efficient use of time, while leaving not enough time will make that time more stressful than it needs to be.
- Example: Scheduling your work week may only require 15-30 minutes, while working a revenue-generating task may take considerably longer.
4. What “to-do” items are causing me to feel the most stressed or Uneasy, and why is that?
- Look at your to-do list and make a mark next to the items that make you feel the most stressed of uneasy. Ask yourself why that is.
- Can this item effect my finances?
- Is it on a stricter deadline than the others?
5. What is one non-revenue generating “to-do” item that if I accomplish today, will ease my mind?
- We know that revenue generating tasks needs to be done daily during our jobs. But this does not mean we shouldn’t focus part of our day on working on a small task in a separate category.
- Example: Work will always be there and we may never find the time for other important tasks. Instead of saving all of those non-revenue tasks for “someday” when you think you’ll find the time, consider picking just one of those tasks a day, or every couple of days. This will ensure that these tasks aren’t overlooked and overload you all at once at a later date.
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