A framework for high productivity - 06

This isn't my creation. I read an article on this (I think), then stripped it down to the essentials for an easy reference which I'm including below to share with the world. If you know the source, let me know and I'll update with a link. My comments are in parenthesis.


First, plan your work based on your top priorities, and then act with a definite objective.

  1. Revise your daily schedule the night before to emphasize your priorities. Next to each appointment on your calendar, jot down your objectives for it.

  2. Send out a detailed agenda to all participants in advance of any meeting.

  3. When embarking on large projects, sketch out preliminary conclusions as soon as possible.

  4. Before reading any length material, identify your specific purpose for it.

  5. Before writing anything of length, compose an outline with a logical order to help you stay on track.

Second, develop effective techniques for managing the overload of information and tasks.

  1. Make daily processes, like getting dressed or eating breakfast, into routines so you don’t spend time thinking about them.

  2. Leave time in your daily schedule to deal with emergencies and unplanned events.

  3. Check the screens on your devices once per hour, instead of every few minutes.

  4. Skip over the majority of your messages by looking at the subject and sender (caveat emptor).

  5. Break large projects into pieces and reward yourself for completing each piece.

  6. Delegate to others, if feasible, tasks that do not further your top priorities.

Third, understand the needs of your colleagues for short meetings, responsive communications, and clear directions.

  1. Limit the time for any meeting to 90 minutes at most, but preferably less (I recommend starting at 30 minutes and scheduling more frequent or longer follow ups as needed). End every meeting by delineating the next steps and responsibility for those steps.

  2. Respond right away to messages from people who are important to you.

  3. To capture an audience’s attention, speak from a few notes, rather than reading a prepared text.

  4. Establish clear objectives and success metrics for any team efforts.

  5. To improve your team’s performance, institute procedures to prevent future mistakes, instead of playing the blame game.


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