It is quite often that I am afraid of things I have to do. And what is even worse I start acting as a firewall – I am busy!!! I am very busy!!! I do not have time!!! I become the slave of my calendar and ToDo list. Even more, there are sometimes tasks that I do not want to do and I am not obliged to do.
In such situation, effectiveness became an issue… There are a lot of small matters to do, and there is no time for bigger and more serious ones. Sometimes at the end of the day, it is hard to say what I have managed to achieve during the day. I am just rushing from one meeting to another… I am solving problems of other people. And there is no progress in my task.
I am also the person that does not like inactivity. Each time when we are planning holidays I am negotiating the amount of time that we will be laying on the beach. I am trying to minimalise it because it is like a prison for me.
I like to be in motion all the time. Do things, but they need to provide real value. And lately time I was wondering if my calendar is not being treated like trash. It is quite often that I get an invitation to meetings in which I do not need/want to take part. I love situation when somebody is catching me in the corridor and saying that he found a slot in my calendar and put there an additional meeting and kill my last productivity slot.
This is not a time for complaining… Please remember that you can improve everything. The most important thing is that the sum of small time slots is not as same useful as having one more prominent time slot (even a bit shorter than the whole sum). You need to have this more significant (3 – 4 hours) time slots for creative work. This type of work engages your mental skills on 100%. Without such blocks, you will never be innovative and productive.
The first thing you should do is booking such slot in your calendar. This is a blocker for other people from adding other meetings.
The second line of defence is starting work at 6:30. Just quick coffee and go to work. I am cooperating with customers from England. There is hour time difference between Poland and England. For me, it means that mostly I have free mornings and I can work on more significant issues during this time. Even then, from time to time there will be a person who will come to work earlier to meet with me.
When we think about meetings we can always:
- ask for providing meeting aim and agenda (especially when the session is longer than 30 minutes),
- think whether we are needed on that meeting – please do not be afraid to decline meeting if you will not add anything to this meeting,
- control approaching the target of the meeting,
- and always we can leave it when we find that we are not needed here.
In my daily routine, I would like to introduce a delay of Outlook starting. With this habit, I would be able to use better the most productive time slot in my day. I think it will be challenging to introduce.
And most important advice – I am trying to plan each day in the morning. I am doing it classically. I am taking a sheet of paper, a pen and I am creating a list of 3 – 5 issues that I would like to achieve during this day. Of course, I am also using ToDo application, but it is hard to me to use it to plan the short amount of time like a day. The advantage of paper list is that you can see it all the time. It is more significant motivation for me. Then I select one task and put my whole energy into it. I always choose such task that, even it would be the only task accomplished during this day, will gain the highest satisfaction of realisation.
During realisation, I am trying to block surrounding environment – mails, communicators, phones, … Headphones with noise cancellation are very useful.
Even with a plan, it is not so easy to achieve such situation and from time to time I fail.
A great analogy is to compare your tasks to stone. You have three piles of them – small (sand), medium and the biggest and only one bucket for all. Then when you will start filling the bucket with sand, then medium stones and leaving the biggest to the end, you will not manage to take them all. When you will change your approach and start doing this by putting the biggest stones first you will be able to take them all. Medium stones with sand will fill gaps between the biggest one.
And the last thing – my safety valve. Each time when a pile of stones that are not in the bucket is getting bigger I am trying to work for a day or two from home where I can entirely disconnect from the whole environment and be productive through the entire day.