Working Your Day or Your Day Working You?
There will always be those occasional days where everything gets away from you. Crazy days where everyone needs something from you, you are adding more to your list then you are actually getting done, and everything becomes a priority. If those days happen more than occasionally then your days are probably owning you. Which means you’ve probably surviving in firefighter mode.
With so many working from home, I’ve been speaking with more and more professionals who are struggling with balancing it all. One day is blending into the next, one week into the next, and while they are working hard – they are not at their best and not feeling like they are making much progress.
If this feels like you at all, it’s time to grab ahold of the reigns and take control of your day. It may not be complete control and things will still get in the way. But the first step is to start the day in a way that sets you up better for success.
Start today off right
The topic of prioritization is a big one. There are plenty of different methods to setting priorities both in your overall life and your daily work. Some are very effective and many depend on your particular preference of what speaks to you.
To make all of that prioritization work more effective it is also important to know your values and goals. Those help define and become the basis for making decisions on what has the most priority right now in your particular life at this particular time.
We won’t dive into those today.
Instead let’s build a basic prioritization habit that will get you moving and back in control of your day.
Most Important Work First
What is top of mind for me right now, is daily priority setting. The simple act of making sure that you know what your top three priorities are for the day. I like to take a small yellow sticky note and write all three down and then circle the one that must get done first. Eating the frog first really helps ensure that you don’t procrastinate or let other things suddenly get in the way. It also builds momentum in the day. You’ve taken care of the most important thing and you can move on to the next with a bit more ease. Each success building on the next.
How You Start The Day – Sets The Tone For The Day
The simple act of having only three priorities is also a good habit to get into. You have way more than three things to get done today. You will do more than three things today. But will they be the right three? And if you allow yourself to have a priority list of more than three you’ve just made another task list, not a priority list.
Three Is Magic
Stick with three. When you make you big items, your important and must do items, a priority and then knock them out -you’ll be making real progress. When you haphazardly get work done, working through a giant list of tasks, you aren’t putting your effort into the most important items that will get you the most bang for your buck.
There are a lot of benefits to using a simple method like this. It fits well into other prioritization methods and it’s simplicity allows you to get right to work. In less than 5 minutes, you’ve got your sticky note, and can get to work on your #1 Frog. Chomp away my friend.
I will give a little bonus advice that I like to always use when setting my priorities. Look for those items that will boost the rest of your work or goals. When you are able to knock out a top priority that also sets up things for tomorrow, then you are getting a multiplier effect. I try never to do work that won’t have any real or lasting impact into the future.
Since you can’t get enough of the Development Geek, check out, Driving in Circles
Always one of my favorites, Admiral McRaven, commencement speech that was turned into a good motivational book. It’s a quick 15 minutes and perfect for us Development Geeks.
Konrad delivers in this quick 5 minute video that will help you get back control of your day.