(Mondays are Lynn Miles Peisker days at The Daily Blur. Lynn serves as the Executive Sister and Chief Plate Spinner at the Imagination Advisory Group. Check out her growing archive of posts here.)
Last week I told you about the importance of getting chores done in a timely and unemotional way. Frees us up to do good work, be creative and get a dance party going at a moment’s notice.
This week, I’d like to tell you what not to do.
Last week your to-do list.
This week your to-don’t list.
If you want to be productive and get stuff done, and
If you want to be all “heck yes, I got a ton done today,” and
If you want to meet deadlines and delight your co-workers,
Then try this.
One week to a more productive work life. Start today.
Work Day 1. Don’t get distracted. Identify your black holes and block them during work hours. Oh, Pinterest, how I miss you and your colorful, delicious, multitude of time-wasting opportunities. Even positives in your work environment like counting hits to your website or numbers of books you’ve sold in the last hour can be distracting. Save it for lunch or end of business. The news will be even better then!
Work Day 2. Don’t get distracted, part two. Move your phone or tablet apps into groups or pages entitled work and non-work. Move non-work related apps off of the home screen. I’m sorry, Candy Crush, but you will have to wait for me until after hours.
Work Day 3. Don’t work without a break. Set a timer for 45 minutes. When it rings take two minutes to move, stretch, drink water or get your dance party on. After a couple minutes, set the timer again and get back to it. Keep using the timer until it becomes a habit.
Work Day 4. Don’t let your short breaks take over your afternoon. Time your breaks. Make sure your lunch breaks, stretches, walks to the Keurig machine don’t exceed 10-15% of your work day (see Work Day 7). Mmmm…Keurig machine.
Work Day 5. Don’t get bogged down in email. Try checking it just three times today (morning, noon and end of business.) Add a sentence to your signature letting your contacts know this is your practice. If it takes 2 minutes or less to answer, do it. If it takes longer, add it to your to-do list. If this experiment proves disastrous, then ramp up to four times a day and so on. If you have project based work – big rocks to move- then it will be impossible until you get the email thing under control.
Work Day 6. Don’t forget to move. Today, try working at a standing desk, whether real or improvised. I work at home so I use my kitchen counter. Try an exercise ball as a chair. Take a walk on your lunch break. Bring one of those stretchy bands you get at physical therapy and do some arm exercises. Blood flow to the brain and exercise endorphins are beneficial.
Work Day 7. Don’t forget to build in time for exploration, creativity and just plain goofin’ off. Just like with any diet, if you don’t treat yourself every once in awhile, you feel deprived and it’s not sustainable. My nutrition coach says if you cheat 10-15 percent of the time and keep to your healthy habits the rest of the time, you are much more likely to stick with good nutrition for life. Try that in your work life as well. Today, do something fun and out of the ordinary.
Let us know how it goes! Here’s to a productive week!