You look back on the week and find yourself exhausted, but somehow your tasks are still undone.
You don’t know what you did all day, but you were busy.
You’re thinking about work at home. But you’re thinking about home at work.
You left the dishwasher running, and your breakfast is on the table.
Something’s Just Not Working
And it could be you. At least not as effectively as you think.
When you feel like you should be getting more done and it’s just not happening, but you’re running on empty, it’s time to check your habits and adjust the way you work.
A Weekly Workflow Allows You to Focus on What You Need to Do
How often do you sit around looking for the next thing you need to be doing?
While the goal is not to schedule every little thing in your life, your workday should reflect your priorities in terms of projects, tasks, and timelines to help you go from one item to the next without having to wonder what to do.
1- Track Your Progress
Do you ever feel like you’re not making any progress? There’s a lot left to do, and you feel constantly stuck on urgent work. Your desk feels like it’s constantly flooding, and your notes are piling up.
When you don’t know where your time is going, it’s usually because you’re not tracking it.
Whether you want to go for an app or a simple note on your pad, track the time you’re spending on the items in your to-do list and I bet you’ll be surprised to find that at least one of those tasks takes way longer than you thought.
Having a real reference of the time it takes to complete a task helps you plan more effectively and set realistic goals.
2- Figure Out When You’re Most Productive
Ever noticed how you can do your work more easily during a specific time of day?
Depending on your routine, it may be easier for you to do creative tasks earlier in the morning when you’re fresh and leave team meetings for later in the afternoon once you can’t focus your attention that well. Or on the contrary, maybe you do great with team calls, planning, and brainstorming early so you get a creativity rush and do your best work in the afternoon.
Figure out when you’re most productive during the day or week and plan around those windows so you’re using your prime time for the work that matters most.
This helps you use these bursts of productivity on the big things blocking your time so that you can work on the easier things when you’re not as fresh.
3- Block Time For Your Big Tasks (Including Play!)
Many people thrive feeling “busy” all the time and seem to brag about how much they’re constantly hustling. But the truth is most of your time is spent doing things that provide little to no value to your success.
It’s easy to waste an entire day (or week!) doing busywork when you don’t really know which are your biggest priorities to tackle.
You end up spending all of your time on a task that’s due in weeks, but your taxes, which were due on Friday, remain undone.
When you block specific times to tackle big ticket items from your list, including free time, meals, and productive time that’s off limits from clients and coworkers, you allow yourself the space to make progress where it really matters, while letting the smaller windows in your day fit the smaller stuff that you need to get done.
Bonus: Eat The Frog!
You’re dreading that one task on your list. You know the one.
There’s a quote by Mark Twain that reads, “If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.”
Instead of spending all day dreading it and pushing it around, finish the most difficult/annoying/time-consuming task first thing in the day.
This lifts the weight off your shoulders and you feel way more motivated moving forward with other easier, more fun projects.
You can even see it as a reward: after doing the boring stuff, you get to do the stuff you love!
Don’t Let Another Workday Slip Away
Learn your own work style, figure out the times you’re most productive (and block those for your most important work!), and track the progress you’ve made in your projects to help inch closer to your goals.
Keep tabs on your day and make sure you’re using your time the way you want to. And not the other way around.
What’s your favorite productivity tip? Share in the comments!
See you there!