Question: Who sets your daily agenda?
Answer: Everyone else!!!
The challenge you have is all the other demands that you let flood into your day and hijack it!
E-mails – Research says on average, per user, you receive around 100 plus e-mails per day – 15% of which are spam, or useless, but the rest have some level of expectation for you, even if it is just reading and deleting. Interestingly, and somewhat confusing, the same research says you only send on average 33 emails a day. Does that mean some elf somewhere is sending a lot of additional emails?
Text and instant messaging – The expectation to respond here are even greater. Some recent studies suggest that as many as 80% of people go to bed with their cell phones!
People! – Yes, the phone calls, heads round the door for a ‘quick question or chat,’ voicemail, etc. Managers and executives spend 40-50% of their time in meetings, of which they feel at least 30% is a waste of time.
Social media – Don’t even get me started on social media!!!!!!
So why is this all such a problem?
Because if you allow this to be the first things you look to do it sets the tone for the day. Regardless of whether the interactions are even positive or negative, which is a whole other issue, your agenda has become filled with the agendas of others.
I can almost guarantee that even before your morning coffee you have allowed at least one of the above to creep into your day. Your challenge is you are letting this all happen to you and putting yourself last.
Now, To-Do lists can be a whole other excuse for never getting the necessary things done. But, before you check the weather, the latest Groupon offer, or respond to that not so urgent text message, take the one key To-Do list that will get your day off to the right start;
1. SORT. Take 5 minutes to do a quick check in and brain dump as to what needs to happen today or have your attention. Appointments, errands, project deadlines, etc. Then review that list and pull out the three most important. Work is likely to drive this but be sure you are adding the important things from the rest of your life.
2. SCHEDULE. Now book and schedule time to work on these three items. It could be as little as 10-15 minutes for each up to an hour. Beyond that, it’s not likely to get done, or it will get interrupted. The actual work can be at any time in the day, but do not let later events railroad that time – make it sacred by booking it at the start of the day.
3. SIGNAL. Be sure to let others know when that time is. Send people e-mails if you have to or get that elf to do it for you! Even have a sign or signal that when you are this focused on essential items time you are not to be disturbed. One senior executive used to have red baseball caps that you could wear for up to an hour a day that signaled to the rest of the company you were on focus time. Have some fun with this and make it a part of your personal brand!
If you can Sort, Schedule and Signal consistently every day your productivity and satisfaction in getting things done will skyrocket.
The S3 strategy is just a small part of the ideas, resources, and tactics we will be covering in the Getting Your Year in Gear program – the launch is just a couple of weeks away.
As we near the end of another year, this is a perfect time to be asking yourself these questions and start to plan what you want 2017 to be like for you, your career and your personal brand.
We will be opening registration for our Getting Your Year in Gear program soon. This is a supported, resource-rich online program to help you get the most out of the next 12 months. To be notified when it’s open and our special reader pricing let us know by completing this form