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Have A Productive Day Every Day
by Barbara Garro

With the heaping amounts you have on your plate, results-based activity is your only hope of surviving your work-load responsibilities and actually having a life at the end of your work day and weekends off.

Getting the results you need to profitably produce every day is a learned craft, not a talent, and needs to be practiced and perfected over time. Yes, you can get it all finished when you understand how to organize yourself with planned priorities.

Want to get a lot well done? Take a Refresh Break for two minutes every 20 minutes. You will amaze yourself! Like the refresh option on your computer, people need to refresh themselves as well. The more often you re-energize yourself, the more high quality work you can do in any given stretch of time. Conversely, without refreshing your mind, the quality of your output declines during a steady stream of doggedly driving yourself through the day until you drop.

TIME SENSITIVE TIP - Be realistic about what can be accomplished in a given block of time. Yes, keeping time logs helps you to gauge how long it takes you to do the things you need to do.

SPACE SENSITIVE TIP - Organizing your work space keeps you productive, because you know where everything is and how to put your hands on it quickly. Anything else just eats away your most valuable productivity asset - time! Realize that everything has a place, even if that place is the trash. Keeping what is unnecessary clutters your work space and steals space and visibility from important information.

Staying on top of the demands of your time on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis allows you to make only promises you are able to keep. No one likes being on the receiving end of over-promising and under-delivering, no matter how reasonable the excuses may seem to the promise-buster. Building each day into a productive day can sound impossibly daunting without some guidelines to put plans in place under each day's work load. Remember, each day is part of one week, which is part of a month, which is part of a year, which means you need long-term plans that dovetail into each day's short-term goals.

GUIDELINE TIPS

1. Write your long-term objectives on your calendar and keep your calendar in your sightline

2. Write your long-term objectives in your monthly planner as constant reminders of what you are striving to achieve

3. In your weekly planner, develop a specific list of incremental tasks that leads you toward your long-term objectives

4. Add those incremental tasks to your daily planner

5. Give yourself deadlines for every step in the process so that you are constantly on top of where you are on your time line

6. Be at the ready to adapt to changes along the way

7. Set goals that go beyond your list

Yes, making every day a productive day demands your self-discipline to stick to an organized workday system. Knowing you have your system in place gives you the confidence to keep yourself focused on your goals. You have a plan. You know where you are going and how you are going to get there. This allows you to be able to leave work-related problems at work because they are written down and assigned a time to be handled in the future. With your working system, you will accomplish more than you ever thought possible. You will have more time for your family and leisure activities you enjoy. Your discipline that keeps you on top of your game gives you a reputation as someone who respects time, yours and others. Because you have a plan for each day, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed, anxious and out of control.

SELF-MONITORING TIPS

• Check yesterday’s list against today's reality

• Keep today’s daily plan uppermost in your mind

• Close the door to your office to keep your concentration on tasks

• Calculate the costs and benefits of the use of your time as a habit

• Do time-checks for tasks and log times through your day

• Embrace continuing education to keep your skill set up to speed

PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP TIPS

1. Take Responsibility for Your Responses and Respond rather than React by resetting your focus back to the positive in negative situations - LEARN TO FLIP THE SWITCH!

2. Develop your Attitude of Gratitude. Everything you have that is good, you have gained through the contribution of others. Test - name one thing you have that you can take 100% of the credit for.

3. Strive for and Achieve Excellence.

4. Maximize Your Relationships Everywhere.

HOW YOU SABOTAGE YOUR SELF-DISCIPLINE

• You lose your sense of urgency/motivation/will to act

• You don’t like doing what you know needs to be done

• You feel uncomfortable about doing what needs to be done

• You fail to see the value of individual tasks

• Peter Principle - see a task as beyond your ability

• Fear of Failure - stopped by can’t fail at what you don’t do

Here’s my daily productivity system...pen and paper. They never crash, refuse to boot, get erased, get corrupted, run out of batteries, and they still work in candlelight. Here's my backup system...hard copy of my address, telephone, email contacts updated with enough frequency that they are current and readable. Hardcopy backup of what I consider important. Yes, I also have portable hard drives and flash drives as well as fireproof filing cabinets. The whole magic of having a productive day every day comes from having a Plan B if Plan A lets you down. No system reaches perfection. Having no system at all makes it impossible to have a productive day every day.