By Chris Mandzufas
200 ultra-productive people were interviewed for a Forbes article, to gain insights into what high performing people commonly do for improved productivity. Of the 15 common habits identified, included below are our top 7 habits for improved productivity.
1. Fous on only one thing
Know your Most Important Task (MIT) and work on it for 1-2 hours each morning, without interruptions.
2. Don’t use to-do lists
Throw away your to-do list; instead schedule everything on your calendar. Highly productive people put everything on their calendar and then work live from Outlook. Watch this Youtube video to see how to time box tasks with Outlook. It involves dragging your to-do list into your calendar and allocating time for each task. A benefit on this approach is that you avoid a 5 min task appearing the same as a 5 hr task.
3. Focus on minutes, not hours
There are 1,440 minutes in every day and there is nothing more valuable than time. Instead of scheduling your day by hours and half-hour blocks, consider your schedule almost minute by minute. You must master the minutes to master your life.
4. Process emails only a few times a day
Ultra-productive people don’t check email throughout the day or respond to every vibration or ding. Instead, schedule time to read, process and respond to email for greater efficiency.
5. Follow the 80/20 rule
Known as the Pareto Principle, in most cases 80% of outcomes come from 20% of activities. Know what activities will drive the greatest results, focus on those and ignore the rest.
6. Touch things only once
If it takes fewer than five minutes, whatever it is, deal with it right there and then. This avoids re-reading an email or re-evaluating an item again in the future.
7. Friday ROAR process
This concept is from the book “Smart Work” by Dermot Crowley. It is a process to be done at the same time each week (say at 4pm on a Friday) to plan for the next week.
- Review the week gone – Reschedule unfinished tasks and actions and check meetings for actions to add to your calendar. Review your inbox and tasks.
- Organise next week – Review meetings and priorities – Schedule, plan including travel times.
- Anticipate – Review 3-4 weeks ahead. Identify deadlines, review travel and start/book-in actions proactively.
- Realign – Review OKRs/Top 3 & review larger projects – Schedule actions, calls and meetings.
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