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Choose Your Cruising Speed For Productive Time Management

"In preparation for your upcoming cruise, please choose among the available excursions for each of your stops. The icons will indicate the level of activity required for each one: Moderate: Walking short distances over relatively level terrain. More strenuous: Walking intermediate distances and climbing stairs. Most strenuous: Participants should be physically fit." These were instructions I received in advance of an upcoming trip. Notable in using that exertion key is the point that you are not spending any more time on your excursion regardless of the level from which you are operating.

The difference is that you have so many more options open to you and can cover more distance on your own if you are able to participate in the third level. It struck me that these could be the same type of instructions that we might use in setting up a plan for getting organized to improve our work routine during the year. How much distance do you want to cover? How productive do you want your days to be? A person’s level of organization helps to explain why some people seem to accomplish so much in a day while others are left wondering where the day, or week, went because they have very little to show for it. In an office setting, the same levels might be reflected as: 1) Moderate - Focusing on what you “have to” do each day, working on the daily routines of looking at email, returning phone calls, attending mandatory meetings, and dealing with immediate requests. (You are operating on level terrain.

) You rarely have the time or energy for anything extra. 2) More strenuous - You also are involved in longer-term projects and manage to complete assignments at or close to the deadline. (You are climbing stairs.) Stress can build up from such crisis management, leading you to feel it was a strenuous day, that you overexerted yourself. 3) Most strenuous - Scheduling projects in advance of deadlines, following up with project participants, and creating your own ideas and solutions for future company growth in addition to keeping up with daily work flow. (You are physically fit.) When you succeed at this level, you’ve worked hard, with significant results, but, if you’ve been operating in an organized state, you end the day feeling energized rather than drained and stressed. How can you build up your office organizing skills so that you can choose to operate from the most strenuous level when you want to, being extremely productive while still wrapping up a day feeling motivated and energized? The following steps will help you to achieve this: 1) Start with your desk area. Choose one system that lets you operate from a clear space with your daily work prioritized. A basic tickler file, with the days of the month, is one way to help you achieve this by giving you a place to put the work you need to do today, tomorrow, and next week.

2) Group daily activities like email, returning phone calls, paying bills, and filing so that you can perform like tasks together. When you focus on one type of activity at a time, you are four times more productive. 3) Set aside a block of time each day where you focus on the projects that require concentration, the ones that really affect the bottom line of your company. When you enter an organized area each morning, with your work already prioritized so that no upcoming deadlines are overlooked, you start out energized. You have achieved a level of organizing fitness that allows you to handle the strenuous activities of your department or company without the stress of overexertion. How do you want to cruise through this year?.


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