Scenario 1: I’m already behind on my work, my email is piling up, and my boss needs me to review someone else’s work.
Scenario 2: I’ll never get all of my work finished, but I do know what is most important to work on today. Then, urgent email tasks are killing my time management.
Scenario 3: There is a whirlwind of urgency swirling around me, but my most important tasks are getting completed. I’m planning to neglect the unimportant things.
When prioritizing our busy lives, there are no perfect answers. But there are better answers. Someone will always want more of our time, more of our help, or more help with their responsibilities. If you don’t believe me, check your inbox.
But what about “our” work? You know, the priorities that we should be working on… if we can ever free up more time. We all have a big pile of tasks that we tell ourselves we “need to get to soon.” But we have a big PROCEDURAL problem that keeps us stuck. We keep working on other people’s “urgent” tasks instead of making progress on our own “important” work.
Here is the problem: our IMPORTANT tasks are at the bottom of the pile. Everyday, something else is thrown on top of the pile. So, as we dig down from the top of the pile, we “feel like” we are making progress only to discover that our hole is caving in from more tasks that are being added.
Have you ever been there? I know you have—we all have. It’s time to work on the foundational items that give us the deeper satisfaction of a better and more productive life.
1. Will you block some time to dig from the side of the pile instead of the top?
2. Will you prove it?
I DO NOT KNOW any productive people who do not “time block.” That simply means that you put in blocks of time that you work on your important work. And that time should be treated as the most important time on your calendar. When the President of a company asks me if I can meet at 2 pm, and my time block is scheduled from 1pm until 3 pm, I say, “I’m sorry, I’m scheduled at that time; can we shoot for 3:15?”
Then, you prove it. If your time block is 1 pm until 3pm, you stay focused and disciplined. You DO NOT check your email or texts at the beginning of that block—you wait until the end. You put your phone in a drawer, you close your email, and you get to work.
Dr.Rob productivity hack: If part of my time block includes getting emails out, I write them in Word, then copy and paste them at the end of my time block, so I don’t open my email and get distracted!
We’ll either suffer the pain of discipline or we’ll suffer the pain of regret. Click to tweet.
Go conquer the rest of the week!
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