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How to organize your working day

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Do not cope with the flow of work? Not sure how to prioritize your own tasks? Buried in deadlines? The fault is the wrong distribution of working time. How to restore performance and control, said the portal Quartz at work. Editorial AIN.UA leads an adaptive translation of this material.

Most working days begin with the right intentions, energy, ambitious task list and a completely controlled flow of letters. But the order comes to an end, when there are meetings, messages and promptings with colleagues. In the end, all plans fall apart, and you go home tired and vanquished.

But do not despair. This vicious circle can be destroyed with the help of prioritization, focusing and betting on your own inexhaustible resource (although, sometimes it does not seem so) - energy. Listed below are all the things you need to know about structuring work during the day.

Choose what you really need to work on.

There is a simple 2 * 2 matrix, named after US President Dwight Eisenhower, which will help you prioritize correctly. Once a politician said that he always has two types of problems - urgent and important. Urgent - not important, and important never are urgent.

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Most likely, when compiling a todo list, you also divide the cases into “urgent” and “important”. The Eisenhower matrix will help you figure out the difference between them. It consists of four cells and two axes - “urgency” and “importance”. It is enough to spend only a few minutes and categorize each of your tasks in order to understand what activities you are wasting your time on.

Urgent but not important tasks are usually a source of concern. They consist of messages from colleagues, invitations to meetings and replies to FYI messages. These tasks make us constantly in “answer mode”. In addition, they distract from the most important - important, but not urgent tasks. The latter do not have clear deadlines and, in the case of, for example, with managers, include working on strategic ideas, long-term planning, investing in talent or creating a brand. Can you imagine the consequences of delaying such cases?

Set aside time for in-depth work.

Venture capitalist Sam Altman calls the hype around the digital world “one of the greatest mental health crises of our time.” We test smartphones 150 times a day, and, according to Cal Newport, a computer science professor, this greatly reduces our ability to think clearly and creatively.

Newport believes that the ability to focus on in-depth work is the intensive execution of tasks per unit of time. He quotes one of the tactics of Professor Adam Grant of the University of Pennsylvania, which is to perform complex, but important intellectual work for a long, continuous period of time. For Grant, this means dedicating the fall semester to teaching, and spring and summer to research.

If your work does not allow you to spend maximum time on certain tasks, do not worry. Newport recommends introducing a "fixed performance", which will allow you to create a clear, balanced schedule of work and rest. This means, including the lack of work after 17:30. If this approach does not work, you can refer to the lightweight version of the in-depth work - the Pomodoro method, which includes a sequence of several 25-minute periods of hard work, separated from each other by time for rest.

Keep track of how much time you spend on meetings

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Paul Graham, founder of the Y Combinator startup incubator, distinguishes between two types of schedules - the “maker” schedule and the manager schedule. If during the day you alternate meetings, conferences and responses to letters, then, most likely, you live according to the manager's schedule. They usually organize their day by the hour. The “creators”, to which writers, programmers and artists belong, divide the work into long, continuous periods of time. As a rule, schedules of both types of employees intersect at meetings. And each of them must understand the consequences of such meetings. Even a short meeting can make you postpone an ambitious project for later. Therefore, when planning your next meeting, be sure to ask yourself about its necessity.

Focus on your hidden resource - energy

A bit of good news - there is a new approach to time management that recommends focusing on your own energy. Unlike time, which tends to run out, energy can be replenished.

The basics of this method are described in Tony Schwartz and Jim Loher’s The Power of Full Participation. They consist in the fact that you can get maximum performance from your staff only by strengthening and replenishing their physical, mental, emotional and spiritual energy. So, physical energy can be replenished by organizing, for example, fitness classes. Replenishment of emotional energy lies in helping to combat stress, and mental - in working with long-term tasks. As for the spiritual component, people receive this energy when they see the point in what they are doing. They focus better and demonstrate persistence.

Eat the frog

Have you ever encountered terrible tasks that are constantly present in the todo list and hover over an employee, depriving him of productivity and productivity? These tasks are called frogs. And they need to try to "eat" as soon as possible.

The habit of immediately solving such tasks will help you to feel like a winner at the very beginning of the working day, to receive a charge of energy and the necessary impulse. Having swallowed the "frog", immediately proceed to the other tasks and take on the most significant of them right now.

Tips on how to create the perfect work day

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1. The day began yesterday ...

The most powerful statement: the morning begins yesterday.

So, according to this rule, it will be quite difficult to concentrate in the morning: what you need, what not to do today; but it is much easier to identify 3 important things the night before that you will become involved in during the working hours of the next day. Here, it is better to prepare (collect material, plan the next day, etc.), again, in the evening.

2. Easy warm-up

I can not imagine how you can do strength training in the morning. In my opinion, the body has not yet had time to wake up, and here to him: press, run, box ...

Easy walk in the fresh air, light stretch marks, yoga for beginners, Hermes Trismegist gymnastics. Remember the workout with fizry at school.

3. Morning shower

Make it a rule - wake up with a shower. This is a great tool that you can do to make your working day perfect. Many claim that it is not good for a person to wash every day, but if you just rinse yourself with cool water (or stand up for a douche), such a procedure will only improve your well-being, and will quickly tone up any energy.

4. At the same time - one thing

Do not spray one thing at all. That is, if you are engaged in this business - try only to them and engage in the allotted time. If you are tired of it, you can (and should) switch to another matter, which, again, only do them, without being distracted by the sides.

The best way to get tired is to become a multi-task, trying to do this in one hour. Unfortunately, it is necessary to carry out an amendment to the human capabilities, they - alas, do not have to multitasking.

5. Pareto's Law

“20% of efforts give 80% of the result, and the remaining 80% of efforts - only 20% of the result”

Your task is to select the 20% of cases from your list of work files that will give the lion's share of the result. And deal primarily with them. What is great with the item above (at one time - one thing).

6. Down with distractions

Did you take courses on special psych resistance training in crisis situations? Not. Then down with all the irritants - distractions.

Your workplace should be as quiet as possible, the only person on it who can produce sounds and other actions is you. Take it as a rule. Of course, in some work environment it is difficult to achieve this, but always strive for it.

7. Be professional in your case.

An ideal work day will not be perfect if you are doing someone else’s work in which you are full: either zero or amateur.

Choose only what you clearly understand or want to succeed. The rest - trust other professionals, set them up for the perfect working day. Delegate, empower, perplex ...

8. Take breaks

And it is useful to relax like this - for a short period, to drastically change the type of activity. If you work sedentary - go for a run, stretch yourself, shake your limbs. If, on the contrary, physical - read what is smart or not.

After what period of rest? Depends on work. You can choose tomato time (25/5), you can, like at school (45/15, 50/10), like ..., (the first digit is work, the second is rest), select individually, experiment.

9. Be grateful

It is difficult to engage in a business to which you feel disgusted. Is not it? Going into the work day - be grateful for your work. For whatever she is, she feeds you, clothes, entertains, introduces and allows you to communicate, takes a third of your life.

10. Working - play

Imagine that work is a game. Sometimes in it you achieve the wrong results, and sometimes you achieve good goals. At the same time, you should not take it very seriously.

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