A new year means a fresh start! Each year we want to be more efficient, effective and productive so we can be more balanced and be our best. It’s the combination of many tools, tips and techniques that help us with our productivity. Review this list of 14 productivity tips for 2014 and see the strategies you are already using and those you would like to use to create a new habit.
1. Commit to a calendar you love. A calendar not only helps you keep track of meetings and tasks, it also helps you create a plan for your week, month and year.
2. Record recurring events on your calendar to remind you about important dates. These can include credit card and bill paying dates, expense and health flex plan due dates, and birthdays. Using your calendar as a tool for tracking doubles its value to you.
3. Lists make life easier. Write stuff down to be free up your mind and be ready to work. Use a spiral notebook or Evernote for lists. Move tasks from email, post-it notes, voice mail or texts to one list to keep track of all you need to accomplish.
4. Create checklists for weekly and monthly activities at home and at work. Checklists are a great way to not re-invent the wheel. It keeps you on track for projects and tasks that occur regularly, as well as getting things done throughout the week. Easy to use checklists include grocery lists, travel lists, bill paying ledgers, and end of the month work checklists.
5. Choose the top three of your Most Important Tasks (MITs) each day to accomplish. How do you know what’s most important? It is the priorities you set. In business it is usually about finances. Personally it is about family and values. Choosing just three MITs a day ensures your success. Whatever is the first task of the day is the one task you can be sure will be accomplished.
6. Set up a Power Period each day, as least once a day, without distractions. A power period helps you get tasks done, helps you be more creative, and helps you complete difficult tasks and projects.
7. Triage email three times daily and add tasks from email to your action list. It’s easy to spend too much time on email so keep to a schedule to use your time more effectively.
8. Create a command center for your papers. Triage papers daily and set a one hour weekly admin time for paper at home. Having a center where papers that require action are altogether makes it easy to find them and do what is required. Spending a little time daily and one hour weekly helps make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
9. Establish weekly routines at home and work. At home these include what days are grocery shopping and laundry. At work these include weekly reports and staff meetings. You can assign days like Money Monday, Wash it Wednesday or Financial Friday to keep it fun too! Write these on a checklist where you can see your assignments for you and your family.
10. Leave a little white space in your calendar for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many tasks do not go as planned. Back to back activities wear us down. Having a little time between tasks and activities lowers your stress.
11. Declutter your purse, satchel, backpack and your car weekly. Declutter your purse at your command center. Declutter your car while you are getting gas. Help your kids declutter their backpacks into their binders. It takes just a few minutes to do. Sometimes it is just trash that needs to be tossed, addresses and contacts to put in your smart phone, and cosmetics to put away. Just five minutes makes all the difference.
12. Host a weekly family meeting. Family meetings are when everyone shares what is going on and what they need to accomplish. It creates family cohesiveness and a team effort.
13. Post a family calendar in the kitchen for everyone to add their activities and remind everyone of upcoming events. Your family calendar helps everyone work together and be on top of upcoming activities.
14. Create partnerships at home and work. We are all especially good at some things and not very good at other things. When you are partnering, both you and your partners strengths come out, work gets accomplished more quickly and its more fun. Partnerships at home include making dinner, doing the laundry and doing the dishes. Partnerships at work include all types of project management, weekly meetings or monthly or annual reviews. The key is to communicate clearly and work together cohesively.
Nothing feels better than getting things done!
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