Archive for September 26th, 2011

Getting more from your day September 26th, 2011

Vinod Kumar

If you surf the net on how to become productive or on how to get tasks done or on how to get organized, there are a million search results. If you are not making the most of your time, then you are likely to be in rush in completing tasks. Do keep repeating this back of your mind and you will be surprised on how this will help you organize and become better. This post is not exhaustive but more of my recommendations on the very subject – I am slowly but surely trying to master this myself and have talked about these to a number of you.

Break down into smaller problems

When I first joined Microsoft, the first book I got to read was – “How would you move Mount Fuji?”. The core concepts remains the same as the book calls out. Break your big problems into small manageable chunks. Even when you are in office projects, the idea of creating a Project Plan is to break your big release into smaller work items increasing your chances of success higher. Creating such plans will also eliminate the noise or activities that don’t need attention.

Doing one thing at a time

Whenever I try to multi-task I usually get unfocused. It can also add a lot of stress in the current activity as you are always switching and thinking of the future. I wrote a post recently on the very art of multi-tasking which in my opinion is a fad :)

Being early avoids panic

Being punctual and trying to schedule work ahead of time is always the best way to stay ahead of the game. I am early to office and leave office early most of the times. There are advantages to this too, getting in early gets you tons of time in tranquil to clear off the overnight mails. And getting home early also gives that much needed extra hour to spend time with family. Moreover, doing this routine I also avoid the hustle of the office goers traffic on the highway.

It’s a very simple thing to reduce stress in your mind and body.

Couldn’t finish – relax

In the topic of multi-tasking I did say I generally buffer time for the unexpected. When there are too many tasks on my plate, I use a sticky note or a notebook to pen down the tasks in hand. Prioritize the activities and then go about the execution ONE-BY-ONE. Getting real and practical is the key. Don’t beat yourself up and create a lot of stress within. Life is too short for getting worried.

Even if you get over Stephen Covery’s book on “7 habits of highly effective people”, it talks about finishing your current urgent tasks and move to urgent & not so immediate tasks. Doing so you are never behind the race in finishing the important tasks first.

Murfy’s Law – Expect the unexpected

No matter how well you prepare, things will not always go as planned. I tell this a million times and things will always go wrong in front of audience even after you have rehearsed the demo’s a million times before. Don’t let that ruin your day or your motivation. The most important thing is to be in control even when things are not going great.

When preparing your calendar, it’s a great idea to block an hour of “unexpected” time every day. This block of time is a free hour that lets you deal with any unexpected delays (traffic jams, flat tyres, crashed latop etc) that might arise unexpectedly. Worst case if unutilized, this can be your extra hour for workout.

Get help and keep track

When you take on more than is necessary, learn to ask for help. For everything else that come your way suddenly, learn to say no when you are short on time. Watch for patterns, you may notice that you’re a productive in the mornings but a sluggish in the afternoons — so use the morning time to get work out of the way.

You are precious

Tough ironing out time for your work is critical, does your calendar look stressed out without time for gym, family time, exercise, reading a book, playing with kids etc? Trying to fit in most of the work is critical but making a slice of time for yourself is super-critical.

Sleep and don’t try to sacrifice this quality time of rest for anything. Doing so can bring down your productivity the very next day. Know your yielding points and giving your body and mind that much needed rest is critical.

It’s important to make sure you feel balanced and healthy (mentally and physically) – not burned out !!!

Pass me your comments !!!

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