Do Just One More Thing
I ran an online productivity workshop for my office recently. I shared a lot of general advice I have learned from researching and testing dozens of tools and systems over the years. It all remains good advice and I will repeat some of it here:
Write your actions down and use action words (call, write, visit) so you are clear on what to do
Get clarity on what done looks like for the person who wants something (that might be you)
Make your work visible so you can discuss priorities with your boss and so you are reminded
Put things on your calendar so they become part of planned work
Your daily plan should be built for about 75% of your time so you are ready for new items
Say no or not right now based on your priorities
I have written about this kind of thing before, so you can read about it in another blog post or reach out to me for a chat about your productivity in this new year.
One thing that I shared is pretty new; it’s something I have embraced during COVID times. At the end of each work day I plan the following day – that has remained constant. The new part is that I log off email about 15 minutes before the end of the day to make my list and then as soon as my list is complete, I just do one more thing. It could be as simple as cleaning up my work space or setting up a new paper file, but often it is more focused planning for a specific project or goal. I have found though that the last 10 minutes (sometimes I go a bit long) at the end of the day is usually pretty productive.
I guess this is my own version of Nike’s Just Do It. There is a feeling of both control and success when I knock something off my To Do list right away. The focused time also helps, as I don’t spend more time deliberating, just doing. The psychology behind this is pretty clear -- I am in the mode already of planning, I know my time is limited, and I build a repeated sense of satisfaction. It's great when I start my next day in the office with one item already crossed off my list. That and a cup of coffee are pretty motivating.
Took me 11 minutes to finally do that thing I have been avoiding for 3 months Internet meme
Apple CEO Steve Jobs was famous for appearing to wrap up a keynote speech and then announcing ‘there is one more thing' and then announcing a new Apple product. He did this to build excitement and to play with his audience a bit. At the end of a day, my only audience is me. There is a bit of trickery involved though, as I have shifted my mindset and know that I am wrapping up. It works for me and maybe it will work for you too.
One other item I shared in my workshop is the idea that you will never achieve your goals if you are never working on them. Each of us still has the same number of hours every week, even if COVID seems to have changed how time passes. If you devote just 12 minutes each work day to your higher goals, that is an hour a week and over a week in a year. That is real time to get real stuff done.
So I am back to blogging and it’s going to be just one more thing I am doing. Hopefully this post will inspire you to devote a little time to doing the same.