If your everyday workload regularly leaves you feeling frantic, you’re probably doing it wrong.
Over decades in the business world, I’ve observed thousands of different approaches to work and time management. The least successful approaches tend to leave people feeling pressured and overworked, while the best time-managers seem to accomplish more while actually working less—and they’re happier with their work, too. So what’s their secret?
There are five main attributes that tend to set these “super-workers” apart. Try integrating one (or all five) of these into your workflow, today.
1. Set Priorities First
Whether you do this before you go to bed or first thing in the morning, lay out the key things you must accomplish that day. Don’t give yourself a list that cannot be accomplished. Focus on just three to five things that will “move the needle.”
What is the first thing you do when you get to the office? That first hour at work is precious; it’s a time to start fresh, while your brain is rested and ready, and it can be incredibly productive and creative time. But many people start by reading and responding to email, and in doing so, they almost immediately lose control of their day. Starting with email can send you bouncing from one new “urgent” question or request to the next, wasting some of your best brain energy of the day on things that might not be all that important.
Instead, try to spend your first hour setting and pursuing your big priorities. Then take a quick break. Get up out of your chair and walk around, and give your body a chance to move and relax before you tackle your inbox. I like to say a quick prayer around this time as well, asking God to help me stay focused on what matters and to help me serve him with my time today.1