These three approaches to productivity will allow you to drive your day rather than let your day drive you. Try each method once, and then stick with the one that fits you and your business best.
Kaizen (The 1 Percent Method)
This method is inspired by a Japanese appreciation for continuous, incremental change. Choose an important long-term task, and dedicate yourself to getting 1 percent better at it every day. For example, improve your pitching skills by presenting an idea to a colleague for one minute every day and then asking for feedback.
The Churchill Method
Winston Churchill constantly struggled with competing priorities while governing war-torn England. If you have an overwhelming number of priorities, try what Churchill did: focus on two to three of your biggest priorities per day. One should be an urgent task, one should be a profitable or beneficial task, and one should be a task that gets you closer to your long-term goals. For example, prepping for a meeting in the afternoon, closing a deal with a prospective client, and spending time on planning your marketing approach for the next few months.
The Eisenhower Matrix
Five-star general and US president Dwight Eisenhower used his love of logic and math to make a simple decision-making tool to prioritize his presidential duties. His method is no national secret, and you can replicate his matrix. Draw an x-y grid with four quadrants. Label the x-axis (left and right) not urgent and urgent, and label the y-axis (bottom and top) not important and important. Place your tasks in each quadrant accordingly.
- Quadrant I (upper left, important but not urgent): Decide when it needs to be done, and schedule it for a less busy time.
- Quadrant II (upper right, important and urgent): Do it now.
- Quadrant III (lower left, not urgent and not important): Delete it.
- Quadrant IV (lower right, not important but urgent): Delegate it to someone else.