Raining emails. Unending phone calls. Everlasting meetings…and it’s just 10am.
You get the idea. Ever thought you were working ‘too hard’ yet at the end of the day, you get depressed that you did not quite achieve what you set out to?1 I call it ‘the blues’, and when I get into the blue zone, it can be demoralising.
Every day is definitely not a holiday when you work in a busy office. It’s even worse for entrepreneurs (or what some call solopreneurs) who wear so many hats that simple tasks become a chore in no time. For many of us employees, our days are filled with looming deadlines, and all you want to do is to check that box that says ‘done!’ without a care in the world about how productive you are. However, at the end of the month, when it’s time for appraisals and your boss (for employees) or your bare cash flow statement is staring coldly back at you, you’ll know it’s time to sit up and start working smarter, rather than harder.
Luckily, I found new ways to bring in my A game with these morning rituals.
Who wouldn’t love to be extra-productive? Here goes my list:
The Daily To-do List
Every morning as I get to my desk, I take out a few minutes to write out all outstanding tasks in my little notebook. I then re-arrange them in order of priority (from most to least important) and assign timelines to each one. This does not take long, but it sure keeps me sane!
I know there are periods when things just seem to be dropping from all corners and my schedule gets disrupted, but by then, I would have knocked out one or two important tasks from my list before the day goes crazy.
Try this, and you’ll see a vast improvement in your productivity scale.
Duration: 15 minutes
Taking care of the recalcitrant emails:
Emails can get disruptive, especially when it seems like they are whisked across the office like paper kites. It’s not fun wading through a pile of mostly junk to determine which needs your urgent attention and which needs a long, flowery reply.
What I do when those emails start raining? I pin the important but no so urgent emails to the top of my inbox, so in my spare time, I can settle down and tackle them. For Gmail, I simply star them. It works the same way.
Another thing I do is to create folders for my emails, so I don’t to search through hordes of emails for just one. For example, I have a folder called ‘Content Marketing’ for emails that inspire a great content idea.
Duration: As it happens.
Notebooks as Lifesavers:
Ever been in a meeting and an idea popped into your head, and you start dancing all over looking for a piece of paper to write on? No more.
I carry a notebook around to take down impromptu tasks and great ideas that I stumble upon in my daily activities. This way, I do not miss out on any interesting update that could look great on my content calendar or my work.
Duration: As it happens.
The sticky, Sticky notes.
There’s a reason why they are called ‘sticky notes’. Sticky notes are lifesavers.
I have colourful sticky notes that I paste onto my desk at eye-level, so nothing misses my attention. This way, certain details remain top of mind, all through the day.
Duration: One minute to write, ten seconds to paste.
Getting Reminded with the Google Calendar:
The Google Calendar is one of my favourite productivity tools. My Google Calendar is like my personal assistant; I schedule tasks as I receive them even as far beyond as the next month and …voila!
I get a reminder when something is pending. I schedule things as mundane as ‘call the dry cleaner’ on my calendar. After all, it can be annoying when you realise you forgot to make the call that could save your weekend.
Duration: 30 seconds
Last but not the least – I get in the real assistants:
I’ll admit. It can be overwhelming sometimes, especially writing. By the way, I committed to writing an article every week for the entire 2017, so when it gets crazy at the office, I reach out to the Ready writers team to help out with ghost writing some of my articles and other content needs, such as copy for my newsletter and books . This helps me find time for the real business of the day without the usual ‘work-hard-but-get-nothing-back-syndrome’; plus it does not hurt that it’s an affordable service getting someone else to support with content writing.
Your turn? What rituals help you survive the week?