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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This entry was posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 21:48 and is filed under Personal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

13 Responses to “Getting more from your day”

  1. Thanks for sharing ….

    Really Nice Article.

  2. Vinod Kumar says:

    SKJ – It was a great learning experience and helping you in the book journey was really something I enjoyed every minute. Hope you also had fun !!!

  3. Satya SKJ says:

    I believe its a coincedence that our thoughts have crossed in the wire!
    Indeed a great list of points that will help the current generation who has mammoth tasks to do, not to mention learning.

    What I believe and follow “For big tasks create a sense of buoyancy by emphasizing positive energy and eliminating negative energy”, it was one of the quote I tweeted. I don’t believe in failure and always attempt back the challenge by ensuring no-repeated mistakes.

    A First attempt at something new doesn’t succeed? pick yourself up, dust off & start all over with no repeated mistakes!

    Again thanks for the support in my book writing journey.

  4. Vinod Kumar says:

    Glad to hear the same Vinay. We are on the same boat now :)

    Manas – Thanks for the kind words. I will try to keep it practical in the future too.

  5. Manas says:

    “Life is too short for getting worried”. A great statement Vinod!!! Thank you so much for guiding us in every possible way. I keep waiting for your sessions and articles. I like the way you relate the things and focuses on the practical side of it.

  6. Vinay Kumar says:

    Thx Vinod for sharing.

    whenever we are thinking about future, we puzzled. what we have to do first ? That i follow the same one as you.
    collect tasks. priorities these on urgent and time consumption.
    That’s keep me relax.

  7. Vinod Kumar says:

    Thansk Anup, Sushil for the note.

    Deepan – yes, the idea was to share something we do everyday to solve the problems :)

  8. sushil says:

    fantastic…well said…really helpfull

  9. Deepan says:

    Nice to Read :-) Mentioned the exact things that happens in day to day life.
    I do the same as what you said when multi-task comes. Note down all the task and make it prioritise.

    thanks for the sharing Vinod :-)

  10. Anup says:

    Excellent Post.You mentioned it in a very simple way on how to get “there”.

  11. Pinal Dave says:

    I agree with you. No the story is to just have very subtle laugh. This is indeed inspiring. Posting on my facebook page.

  12. Vinod Kumar says:

    Not exactly Pinal. The experience surely forced me to publish it. It was on the cards for a long time.

  13. Pinal Dave says:

    Hello Vinod,

    I have interesting story to share with you.

    There was very strange problem with one monitor today, it took 3 engineers (one IT, one EC and One Mechanical) to debug the issue and at the end noone can figure out the issue.

    They generally defined the problem to make the monitor work and devided in the serveral small issue. They tried to resolve so many things but there was no go. they were stuck to this simple problem for more than 3 hours.

    Well, after a while they decided to blame things on murphy’s law and changed monitor and cable. Still no go. Finally, they used different brand monitor and it worked.

    They are still not sure what really went wrong but focusing on single problem and resolving small thing at time, helped them a lot.

    Well till the issue was not fixed they were not relaxed but did not panic for sure.

    Finally, it took 3 engineer 3 hours to fix a small monitor problem.

    One last question: Did you write this blog post from our experience of my monitor not working?

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