Posts Tagged ‘single-tasking’

Suggestion for Professional Performance Standards

May 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, I had a discussion with two colleagues about the cooperation difficulties with other colleagues that do not perform in accordance with minimum standards of professional behavior. I often experience that some colleagues – always the same – need weeks to answer mails or simply are not able to complete tasks. Often their desks are completely overwhelmed by printouts and notes and the office looks chaotic. – Do you know this type of colleagues? 😉

I believe, that beside personal traits everybody is able to work in accordance with minimum professional performance standards. To support this theory, I created a “one pager” with five suggestions for professional performance:

Professional Performance Standards – Englisch Version (PDF, 21.5 KB)
Professional Performance Standards – German Version (PDF, 18.0 KB)

In the future, I will use this one pager to give my colleagues an idea about my expectations concerning professional performance and I hope, this will improve the cooperation step by step.

What do you think about these minimum standards? Do you have ideas for additional suggestions?

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, 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.

Getting to know yourself

Jan 19, 2011 1 comment

Inspired by an audio book (“Endlich mehr verdienen” by “Bodo Schäfer”) I set up two journals and started to record my daily successes and the fun events to get to know myself even better:

Success Journal: I record all events that I realized as a success. In addition, I added the skills (trained) and the talents (born) that made these successes possible.

Fun Journal: I record all events where I experienced a relevant fun factor or where I reached a relevant level of flow that made me to forget everything else while doing these activities.

After maintaining the journals for a period of four to six weeks, I started to evaluate the records and identified the skills and talents that helped me to achieve the successes as well as the activities that were a fun experience to me. The results of this evaluation – for example – helped me to focus my energy onto the right targets and to sharpen my resume.

Today, I still force myself to record my successes and my fun events into these journals on a daily basis and even if the findings are repetitive, it helps me to motivate myself.

Another interesting way to identify my skills, talents, strengths and weaknesses was to write down all key events of my life. – Just a short list of the 10 to 15 most relevant events that formed my way to where I am today.

Beside these findings on a very high level, I started to record all activities of my workday to evaluate how I spend my time in more detail. Starting a simple paper-based list in the morning and recording all activities or projects in its timeline would have been sufficient, but I decided to use software for this. I chose the tool TimePanic ( which makes it quite easy to capture and evaluate the spent time. A beneficial side effect of the time recording is, that I am only able to book my time to one project at the time and this forces me to do single-tasking only. That helps me to focus on the current activity without multi-tasking between several tasks as I did in the past.

All findings of my time analysis are integrated into my “Daily operations“.