The psychologist, Ron Friedman says that the first 3-hours of your working day are your most precious and productive.
Rather than leaping into your e-mail inbox, checking your voicemail or responding to other people’s requests, focus these first hours on the work that is most important to you and your job.
What do you do when you first sit down at your desk? Are you checking e-mails? Facebook? Internet shopping? Remember your brain is at its most creative so how will you maximise this time? What can you achieve on your todo list?
One of my top tips is all about preparing the night before. Check your to-do list, see what you have scheduled and batch your time. Find the things that are most creative, then categorize and prioritize what needs to be done.
Do what works best for you – whether it is writing it down in a list, in a planner, on a notice board… but whatever works best for you, stick to that process.
For me, I love a Todo list. I brain dump everything I have to do onto one list and schedule a date by it. I can then print off my list with only what needs to be done that day – and I like the satisfaction of being able to cross through things! I also check the list for frogs!!
“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the ugliest one first.” (Mark Twain).
Brian Tracy, author of “Eat That Frog! Get More of the Important Things Done – Today” says “Your ‘frog’ is your biggest, most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t do something about it now. It is also the one task that can have the greatest positive impact on your life and results at the moment.”
Also… “If you have to eat a live frog, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long”!
Your working environment
So, how is your work desk looking at the minute? What is on it? Is it tidy or cluttered? It is worth noting, what we have on our desks can distract us a minimum of 10 times a day.
I have recently had my office refurbished and had to do a serious amount of decluttering. I now work with a totally clear desk policy and try to keep to this throughout the day. It helps me to start the day with a clear mind and to focus on my list.
Throughout the day as I print off e-mails I need to action I immediately label and put them into clear plastic wallets so each task I am working on doesn’t end up in a jumbled pile of paper.
End of the working day
At the end of the working day give your brain the opportunity to switch off. Put 15-minutes aside to put anything new on your To-do list and prioritize for the next day.
By downloading this information helps you declutter your mind and switch off from work-related actions as you leave the office.
So, imagine walking into your office tomorrow morning where you have a clear desk and a prioritized todo list, where you know what you are doing and how you are going to use those first precious 3-hours wisely. Here’s to your productive week ahead!
Gerry Hyde has over 25 years’ experience working in an office environment and has gained valuable knowledge and habits which help her create a structure to her time in the office.