The ability to work faster and get more done in less time isn’t slavery; it’s freedom. You’re going to have the same big pile of stuff to do every day whether you want it or not. If you can be more efficient, you can get it done and still have some time left over for yourself – whether its to read the paper, play with your kids, jog, or play the piano. Productivity workers have schedules and stick with them. But according to studies, more than 50%of workers don’t schedule their daily activities. It’s not enough to know the projects you’re working on.

You should break your day into segments. I suggest using hour increments, although quarter and a half days can also work. Write down on a piece of paper the project you will work on during each of those segments.

Do this every-day, at the beginning of your workday. (or If you prefer od it the last thing in the day to prepare for the next day)., Post your hour- by- hour schedule for the day on a wall or a corkboard by your desk so it is always in view. Although I may work on a particular project for more than one hour a day, these hours need not be scheduled consecutively. It up to you. As you go through the day, consult your schedule to keep on track. If priorities change, you can change the schedule, but do this in writing. Revise and post the schedule. Keeping your schedule on your computer makes this a simple task you can do in minutes.

Why do hour increment work so well? Precisely because they give you a deadline – one hour – to get things done. “Work expands so as to fill time available for its completion,”. If you have all day to do task X, you’ll take all day. If you have only an hour, you’ll work that much more quickly and efficiently.

It’s okay to redo the schedule as long as you don’t miss deadlines. Some days I redo the daily to-do schedule two or three times, depending on deadlines and inspiration. Why not? As long as you are organized, keep a track of deadlines and allow enough time to finish each hob, you will increase your productivity by working on things you feel in the mood to work on.

The key components of personal productivity system is a series of lists that one should keep on their computers or cell phones. In fact, I have so many lists, that I have a file called “Lists” to keep track of them! That way, I make sure the set of lists I review each day covers every one of my tasks. Making lists is a simple idea, but extremely effective. Some people credit Ivy Lee, one of the first management consultants, for first using lists as a formal time-management system. Every morning, I come into the office and turn on my computer. After checking my various online services for e-mail, I open the LIST file; it tells me which lists I must read and review to start my day.

The most important lists on my LIST file are my to-do lists. I keep several, but the most critical are my daily to-do lists, projects to-do list, and long-term to-do list:

  1. DAILY TO-DO LIST: Each day I type up and post a list of the items I have to do that day. From this list, I create my hour -by-hour schedule. This list is revised daily. I enjoy work and put in long hours, so I take on a lot of projects that interests me. But I never take on more than I can handle, so I can continue to meet all deadlines.
  2. PROJECTS TO-DO LIST. In a separate computer file, I keep a list of all my projects currently under contract, along with the deadline for each. I review this list several times a week, using it to make sure the daily to-do list covers all essential items that have to be done right away.
  3. LONG TERM TO DO LIST: This is a list of projects I want to do at some point, but are not now under contract and therefore do not have any assigned deadlines. I check this list about once a week, and usually put in a few hours each week on a few of the projects from this list that interests me most.

This simple system works. Most of the techniques are simple, yet powerful, that would help you improve your productivity. So don’t be put off by their brevity or ease of implementation.


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