5 Simple Strategies to Help You Win the Week
1. The Sunday Night Start
Take 10-15 minutes on Sunday night to make a list of the most important tasks or goals for the week. Then schedule them into your calendar. This basic activity helps reset the tone for what needs to happen throughout the week. When you wake up Monday morning you will already be prepared for what is required and be able to proactively control your day. Make sure your calendar isn’t entirely booked. There needs to be a bit of flexibility for challenges that may arise; however the scheduled tasks should keep you focused on what MUST be completed regardless of new things that arise or require a reaction.
2. Be Proactive with Your Email
Email can be distracting, overwhelming and one of the biggest time wasters. Email has been one of my biggest areas for improvement. I used to let hundreds of emails build up in my inbox. I have now developed a simple folder system to help me file emails that are important and require some time to respond too. I aim to operate as close to a zero inbox as possible; however I schedule my times for responding to email only a few times throughout the day. Eg. 8:30-9:30, then maybe 15min before or right after lunch and then another 20 minute session right before the end of my work day. By chunking the email checking into a few scheduled sessions it allows me to not lose focus on the other projects I’m working on. The 3 sessions still provide enough time that I can respond to import emails that require time sensitive attention. If someone really needs to get a hold of me they will just call. One other quick email strategy that I have been implementing is from Chet Holmes’ “The Ultimate Sales Machine” in one of the first few chapters Chet discusses some time management strategies. One of his rules for good time management is “Touch it once”. I’ve tried to apply this to email. Either I deal with and email and respond, file or delete. Some sort of action must be taken, and if it’s filed I know it must be something that takes more than a minute or two to respond to.
3. Do the most important task or action of the Day First
I’m sure you have heard the saying “Eat the Frog First”. This means taking action on the most important or challenging thing right away in the morning and not delaying it until the end of the day. If you push it back once, you will probably push it back again. Procrastination can get a hold of us if we are not careful. Our tendency is to do what most excites us first. If we just do what excites us most we will constantly start projects without seeing them through, thus never getting the results we hoped for at the beginning. Do what you need to not what you want to.
4. Have an Intentional Outcome for each event or task in your Calendar
After having planned your week in your calendar the next step is sticking to it. Sometimes an activity comes up in the calendar that we aren’t very excited about. Don’t skip it. If it needs to get done and you’ve scheduled a time to make it happen, just do it. As well as completing the events in your calendar it is essential that you have a predetermined outcome for each event. For example if you have a meeting scheduled with someone between 3 and 4; you should already know going into the meeting what you hope to have as the outcome. Knowing the outcome will keep you on task and also present to the situation. Having a focused outcome can even be very useful in intentionally building personal relationships. If you know you have 2 hours to spend with someone, you may have an outcome like…”a stronger connection and be aligned on a particular topic”. So for those 2 hours you can be completely present in developing that deeper connection and working through what it takes to get aligned. Each event needs a pre-determined outcome in order to be productive.
5. Take Care of your Health
This last strategy seems simple, but is foundational for having success with any of the other strategies. If you are not feeling energized, strong and confident it will be extremely difficult to be productive. Have a plan to eat right and exercise. We hear this all the time, but that’s because its so important. Often we neglect our health until we have a problem. At that point its too late…we are reacting again. Be proactive with your health. Schedule time to go to the gym, or doing an activity outside. Also plan your meals. Eating whatever is available in a rush is a good way to start putting on pounds. If you know time is going to be crunched have healthy options pre-planned that you can grab quickly.
I hope these strategies are helpful? Do you have any other strategies to help you win the week?