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Are You Doing These Four Things to be More Effective at Work?

Effect

 

 

 

Have A Solid Daily Ritual

Here’s a solid one from Peter Bregman that will help you maximize use of your time .

Via 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done:

STEP 1 (5 Minutes): Your Morning Minutes. This is your opportunity to plan ahead. Before turning on your computer, sit down with the to-do list you created…and decide what will make this day highly successful…

STEP 2 (1 Minute Every Hour): Refocus. …Set your watch, phone, or computer to ring every hour and start the work that’s listed on your calendar. When you hear the beep, take a deep breath and ask yourself if you spent your last hour productively. Then look at your calendar and deliberately recommit to how you are going to use the next hour. Manage your day hour by hour. Don’t let the hours manage you.

STEP 3 (5 Minutes): Your Evening Minutes. At the end of your day, shut off your computer and review how the day went, asking yourself… questions like: How did the day go? What did I learn about myself? Is there anyone I need to update? Shoot off a couple of emails or calls to make sure you’ve communicated with the people you need to contact. This is the best way to spend the last five minutes of your day at work.

 

Make Things Automatic

The secret to getting more done is to make things automatic. decisions exhaust you:

The counterintuitive secret to getting things done is to make them more automatic, so they require less energy.

It turns out we each have one reservoir of will and discipline, and it gets progressively depleted by any act of conscious self-regulation. In other words, if you spend energy trying to resist a fragrant chocolate chip cookie, you’ll have less energy left over to solve a difficult problem. Will and discipline decline inexorably as the day wears on.

Build routines and habits so that you’re not deciding, you’re just doing. When you first learn to drive it’s 1000 activities like steering, shifting, checking mirrors, braking — but with practice you turned it into autopilot and it’s no stress at all.

 

Checklists are magic

Use checklists. Yeah, everybody says that. And you probably don’t consistently do it.

Harvard surgeon Atul Gawande analyzed their effectiveness in his book The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. What happens when you consistently use checklists in an intensive care unit?

The proportion of patients who didn’t receive the recommended care dropped from seventy per cent to four per cent; the occurrences of pneumonia fell by a quarter; and twenty-one fewer patients died than in the previous year. The researchers found that simply having the doctors and nurses in the I.C.U. make their own checklists for what they thought should be done each day improved the consistency of care to the point that, within a few weeks, the average length of patient stay in intensive care dropped by half.

What makes for a good checklist? Be specific and include time estimates.

 

Beat procrastination

Use dashes:

“…a dash, which is simply a short burst of focused activity during which you force yourself to do nothing but work on the procrastinated item for a very short period of time—perhaps as little as just one minute.”

A big part of procrastination is dread. The task seems terrible and overwhelming. And that’s the first issue that needs attacking: those feelings.

By breaking the problem down into smaller chunks — even comically small ones that require only 1 minute of activity — and doing just that one little thing, you prove to yourself the task isn’t insurmountable.

The most motivating thing in the world is progress. Any trivial progress can motivate and boost positive emotions that will help build a productive momentum.

So this sounds good in theory but you’re probably thinking: what’s that first step and won’t that be horribly, horribly painful? For any procrastinated task, first thing is to take one minute and just write down the steps you need to do to finish the task.

This should be enough to kill negative emotions, build some momentum and get you going.

 

This post originally appeared on Barking up The Wrong Tree

WRITTEN BY
Nathan Jeffery
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