The most important thing you own is your time! In fact all you are today is a result of what you spent or did not spend your time on in the past. You can always make some form of money but you can never get lost time back! Don’t waste your life, don’t waste your time!
Daily PEP Checklist
The goal is to make a daily check list we can all use to keep us focused on the right tasks and free from UNPLANNED distractions 🙂 We want to plan in distractions thats good, we don’t want UNPLANNED distractions. Distractions are killer to productivity!
__ Take at least 15 mins to plan your Daily Checklist. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of your day. Take the time, think things through! The MINUTES you invest in planning will save you HOURS of wasted time if you don’t plan or plan poorly.
TIP: When planning choose the MOST IMPORTANT tasks and list them from hardest to easiest so you tackle the hardest first. Normally you have more energy and focus when you START than in the MIDDLE or END, even if you drink red bull 😛 (I don’t advise using artificial stimulants – have fruit, a small snack, etc 🙂
TIP: Make sure you have a coulmn or area where you can MOVE the DONE items in your list, this feels great and shows a sense of accomplishment. It does matter!
TIP: The cool part about planning your day is that you feel more in control of your direction and your day does not slip away. Just remember this, when you never planned your day did you ever have days you felt you just didn’t accomplish anything? did you waste it browsing the web? The reason this happened is because there was no plan!! You will find yourself happier and more excited about your day when you have a goal and path to accomplish that goal!
Have a place to DUMP all the things you think you should do so that you can revisit them later (or never :P). I use a TODO app but you can use a simple word document or text document, even a scratch pad or lined paper. This helps keep you from using your brain on things before they are properly planned. I have a TODO DUMP where I put all the TODOS and then I move them to SOONER, LATER todo lists based upon if the items can wait till later or much be done sooner.
TIP: Don’t worry if you have to move things to LATER. The goal is to work on the HARDEST things first. If you know you don’t have to worry about doing ALL THE WORK just the HARDEST this can be a comfort. The LATER work in the list should be the easiest which means you could accomplish it quicker when you get to it!
TIP: Remember its not about doing HARD work, its about doing the MOST IMPORTANT work and then order it by HARDEST to easiest. If it’s not important why are you working on it? You better have a good reason!
__ Take breaks when you feel like you are stuck or not fully engaged in the work. Breaks should be for no more than 10 mins and you should do something distracting or something you enjoy.
TIP: Make sure on your distraction breaks that you set a TIMER for 10 mins! Do NOT continue distraction once timer goes off. If you do take a break you must work for at least 2-3x (20-30 mins) the break period before you take another break if possible. I find if you can get working for 10 mins it turns in to 50+ mins very easily.
TIP: When you are working close all browsers, tabs, etc that are not directly related to the work you are doing. Take comfort in knowing you can take a break anytime you like but you must stop after 10 mins 🙂
Make sure to write down ideas and thoughts as they come to you while you are working or while you are taking a break.
TIP: Make sure to put a folder on your desktop called PERSONAL and WORK and then put all your other desktop items in their respective folders. When you are working open the WORK folder, when you are distracting 😛 open the PERSONAL folder. Never have the WRONG folder open at the WRONG time. OOSOOM 😛 (Out Of Sight Out Of Mind) When you can’t see it it is less likely to be seen 😛
TIP: Set a max time you want to be distracted per day and count that time down. For example set 1 hour and then when you take your DISTRACTION time you can start counting down. Just make sure you find a way that after 10 mins it has an alarm so you can stop counting down and start doing work 🙂
__ Take at least 10 mins (or whatever feels right) at the end of your day to write down things you may have learned, could improve or ideas you thought about that you did not record earlier in the day. Also write about what you did well and what you think you could have done better that day. Make sure to transfer these things you learned about yourself to the next day as reminders. Label them DANGER and BOOSTER with DANGER being things to watch out for and BOOSTER for things that helped you. Learn from yourself! Here are some examples:
DANGER: Make sure not to check FB unless I am on my break.
BOOSTER: Watch a video on Entrepreneurship, really helped motivate me!
__ Take no more than 10 mins, Pre-Plan the most important things you want to accomplish the next day and prepare your next Daily Checklist ready to be filled in! This is a good time to add your DANGERS and BOOSTERS!
TOOLS I USE:
Flexible Timer from Apple Mac Store/App Store
OneTab (so you can keep all those distracting tabs and open them later)
Read the Checklist Manifesto, it’s awesome.
Look, we all know we want to be distracted, the key is to control the times we are distracted. If we control the distracted times we control our productivity! So you are free to be as distracted as you like but in only 10 min intervals! If you can get yourself started for just 10 mins you may find you are working for 50+ minutes if not more! It’s about that BOOSTER momentum!
Remember, EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY! If we did not do so well yesterday we can do better today if we plan it right and set our minds to it. We must KNOW OUR WEAKNESSES to OVERCOME THEM 🙂 Once you have your DANGERS and BOOSTERS you have ability to start to improve yourself by adding more BOOSTERS and being aware of the DANGERS!