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Posts Tagged ‘important task first’

Using the early hours

Nov 8, 2011 Leave a comment

A few days ago, the headline “My secrets to productivity” within wordpress “Freshly pressed” caught my attention and I took the time to read Jolie O’Dell’s post about her productivity secrets.

I was really surprised about the similarities to my habits. Even if I try to get up at 5:00 am, compared to her late 6:30 am ;-), I try to make use of the early hours without interruptions by colleagues, incoming calls, or emails. Her advice is to “Wake up half an hour before anyone else” and I can definitely confirm this message. But most interestingly, she mentioned that this head start makes it possible to process emails without receiving answers right away. While reading her post, I realized that I am already using this “feature” without thinking about it for years. 🙂 Processing emails before others get up really reduces interruptions by incoming answers to your emails.

In addition, after cleaning the inbox in the early morning and after checking the tasks of the day, I have the time AND – most important – the calmness to work on my most important tasks even before other colleagues start working.

Jolie also talked about the downside of getting up early: Early to bed. For sure, this is not easy, but you can get used to it and if you want to get up at 5 o’clock in the morning, you simply have to sleep earlier. Usually, I try to go to bed around 10 pm to get at least six hours of sleep. Yes, to be honest, it is really hard to wake up at 5 am. :-/ To make this easier, I started experimenting with sleep cycle software on my cell phone, but this could be another topic to write about. 😉

Thank you Jolie for sharing your secrets to productivity. Your post made me aware of the power of using the early hours. …and now, it is time to go to bed. 😉

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Daily Operations – How to manage my day?

Jan 19, 2011 6 comments

Basis for my daily operations is a reliable task management and a continuous inbox processing as well as a proper operational planning. While performing my daily operations, I follow three basic rules:

1. Single-tasking: I avoid working on several tasks at the same time because switching between active tasks just wastes my time by refocusing. Thus, I try to process one task after another.

2. Important tasks first: Every day, I start working on the most important tasks of the day before processing my inboxes or before reading news etc. Otherwise I might loose too much time without processing the important to-dos.

3. Buffer: Based on the findings of my time tracking, I started to structure my day more and more by adding buffers for several recurring activities:

– Inbox processing: I reserve about half an hour in the morning and half an hour in the evening for my daily mailbox processing and I “try” to keep my inbox closed for the rest of the day to stay focused on my tasks. I process my inbox as described in “inbox processing”.

– Unplanned activities: I add a buffer of about 30 minutes to my daily schedule for spontaneous ad hoc activities.

– Daily planning: Every morning, I need about 5 minutes to check what has to be done during the day. In the evening, I take about 10 minutes to reschedule tasks I could not complete and to update my journals. Every Friday, I widen my focus and check what is coming up during the next week.

Beside visiting meetings, I “simply” process my tasks according to the importance during the day. The importance is calculated based on the due date and the priority. Fortunately, toodledo.com is doing this for me.

Finally, whenever I complete a task, I decide what action has to follow the completed task to accomplish the overall measure/project and I add this to-do to my task management as next action.