Lots of people hope to be more productive in the new year. But what does that mean? I'm not sure I know, but I do know that this week I will be offering five suggestions of habits that will not only have a big impact, they're entirely doable too. Implement these and you might get everything you plan to do in 2017 done by March!
Day 1: Climb your mountains on Monday morning
Today's habit is, naturally, a Monday habit. Many of us have big, important, long-term projects we're trying to make progress on. We also have overflowing inboxes and small tasks that need to get done very soon. It feels more productive to hack through the long list of stuff that needs to happen, and tell ourselves that we will get to the more nebulous, important-but-not-urgent stuff later.
But often, days and weeks can get away and the big stuff keeps getting pushed off. Waiting to see what time is left over leads to no time being left over. That's never a crisis, but it can lead to a sense of spinning one's wheels.
So, instead, block in your most important work for first thing Monday morning. You'll be fresh, and you'll start your week on a high note. What has to get done will get done, but the good thing about this approach is that what doesn't have to get done will get done too.
You can also do a scaled down version of this daily. Carve out a power hour during the first hour of your workday for your most important tasks. Then wade into the inbox. Email will expand to fill all available space; seizing that first hour is a good way to fight back.
In other news: The paperback of I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time will be out tomorrow, Tuesday, January 3. This time diary study of 1001 days in the lives of professional women and their families shows that with the right strategies, plenty of people juggle big jobs and full personal lives just fine. If you've already read the book, thank you! Would you consider buying a copy for someone else in your life? I appreciate it.
Also, stay tuned: I'll be doing a New Year's time-tracking challenge next week, starting January 9. If you've ever wanted to try tracking your time, that would be a good week to play along! You can sign up for daily motivational emails here.