How to Be Productive in 7 Easy Steps: Part 1

During a typical workday, I have more on my plate than I can handle. I have both long term projects and daily tasks. In addition, there are email, phone calls and interruptions galore. How do I keep up with it all?  The truth is, not very well, but I’m getting better.
After reading David Allen’s Getting Things Done (the bible on personal productivity),  and Brian Tracy’s book, Eat That Frog  I made some changes to my work day that have  made me more effective, relaxed and in control.  I’m hoping what has worked for me will work for you too.  In this two part post,  I’ll be sharing seven changes I’ve made in my daily schedule to be more productive.  In part 1, I’ll cover my new acceptance mindset, my planning, my prioritization and my execution.  In part 2, I’ll be covering my focus, how I make adjustments to my plan and my results mindset. While this is one of my longer blog posts, I hope you will stick with it and  benefit from my experience. Here is what I’ve learned.

Steps 1-4 of How to be productive

Realize  and accept that you’ll never get it all done. You’ll  never be completely caught up. That’s the truth. There will always be more to do than you have time for.  You must change your mindset to accept that fact and focus on doing the most important things each day.

Plan the day on paper before you begin.  Take the last 15-30 minutes at the end of each workday to set your agenda for the next day. This discipline will  allow you to begin work immediately when you get to work the next morning.

  • Make the most important tasks the highest priority.  “Must be done” items get an “A” priority, “Should be done” items get a “B” priority and “Nice if were done” get a C priority.
  • Write your plan out on paper before you leave work.  Estimate the time  it will take to accomplish each task on the list. This will give you a better understanding of how much time you need  relative to the items on your list. Group all the A items together, group all the B items together and all of the C items together.

Eat that Frog   Mark Twain is quoted as saying,  “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”  This simply means get the ugliest, nastiest thing you don’t want to do done first.

Be single handed with each task.  This is just another way of saying, “finish what you start.”  Don’t start a new task until the one you’re working on is complete. This is also called: “Closing the Loop” or “Finishing”.  Do all the items with an A  priority before starting on items with a B priority and B priorities get done before C priorities.

 To be continued……


Image Credit: Image from Flickr creative commons/ orcmid:


  1. Pingback: How to Be Productive in 7 Easy Steps: Part 2 | Dialed In For Success

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