This post is no. 4 in 7-post how to make an impact series.
Chances are that you are supercharged now and intend to achieve a lot in little time.
I wish you good luck but there is something more you need to be careful about. Let us see.
You start your day really excited with intention of making the best of it; then distractions and interruptions come up. These distractions may look hard to tackle but if you plan well then you can control your day and spend your time well.
Let use see how these simple ideas can help you.
Think about roadblocks first
If you are in a job then your boss, unwanted meetings, conference calls and interruptions from colleagues are things that can turn your plans for the day upside down.
For entrepreneurs obligatory meetings, client calls, doing unwanted administrative tasks, interruptions created by employees (if your employ people) are major hindrances.
How to steer clear of these roadblocks?
Knowing your roadblocks is half battle won. Now let us explore ideas to tackle the other half.
1. Start with an end in mind
Know what you want to achieve in a day. Once you decide, list it in on a paper, cell phone or in a text file on your laptop.
When you make a list do not do what I used to do. Years ago when I started making a to-do list, I used to list 20 tasks on my list. At the end of the day I would only be able to finish 2-4 tasks at max, remaining tasks went to next day’s list. Within next 3-4 days my to-do list used to be so long that just by looking at it I’ll know that I am not going to finish the remaining tasks even in a week.
Now being the fighter I am, I used to spend weekends finishing remaining tasks and striking tasks off the list. I do not recall a single weekend when I was able to finish all listed tasks. Over the years I realized that this is not going to work.
What works best for me and many others is to start with a small to-do list for the day with maximum 2-3 tasks on the list. Keep it balanced; create it with a mix of 1-2 regular task and 1 challenging task. Also keep some time for unplanned activities on your list, 30-60 minutes a day is fine.
Remember not to bite more than you can chew.
2. Always have a start and end time
Having made a to-do list that you are sure of finishing at the end of the day; put a start and end time for your work day on the list. This will make sure that you control your day in a balanced manner – not going overboard and using your fun and family time for work.
3. Phone & Email Practices
People who you communicate with on a regular basis and who are not family or friends should know that your time is valuable. Train them to communicate in a to-the-point manner. Make a rule to not to stretch a phone call for more than 5 minutes. If you are used to talk for long then you start with limiting it to 10 minutes first.
The length of emails that you send should not exceed 5 sentences. If it exceeds 5 sentences, re-read and edit. If you think it will take longer to explain, pick your phone and talk; and remember the 5-minute rule.
4. Be driven by purpose and not people
But have a place for people in your purpose-driven life.
People in our lives even those who love us tend to drive us by what they think is important. Tell them what is important for you in life; if they really love you they’ll understand. Share with help of a story of which includes them.
Find the purpose of your life and build your life around it. Once your know your purpose then nothing will be able to distract you.
5. Create a special place for yourself
If you work in a job, there are ways to do it. One simple way is to help your boss shine thinking less about who gets the credit. If you are hungry for credit and are not getting it at work then create your own projects, work on your personal brand and learn to help people. Keep working and be really good at what you do.
For all reasons ask for a raise, fair treatment, and opportunities to showcase your talent.
But help your boss shine. Once you do it; she will offer you freedom (you will have to ask for it) to sit out of unnecessary meetings; and assign you projects that you love.
Be insanely helpful to everyone you can. Be commonsensical, Do not fall sick or sideline your own work doing that but beyond that be really helpful.
Increase your self-worth and acquire skills that will make your indispensable and unique in your industry and community.
6. Ask for help
Start with helping those around you. Learn to delegate early in your work life. Ask friends and colleagues for help when needed.
7. Try fasting
If you are lagging behind on a big project; then take a social media fast or go on a 7-day online fast. Get over with what is pending.
8. Make a new beginning
If you lose control of your day because of some unexpected or unwanted distractions one day; do not lose heart. Everyday is a new day, start afresh. You will get it with some practice.
9. Learn to say no
Most of the times plans go haywire because things come up – offer to go to a party, attend a meeting or just the need to be at a social gathering or conference. If you see that a particular event or activity will hamper your schedule; then avoid it. You will be fine with saying no in most of the situations.
10. Act confident
It helps if you appear confident. It is different than being arrogant. Confidence emanates from knowing things and experience; so gain experience and learn about things that you need to know. Once you do it people around will listen to you .. more; and you will have better control of day to day situations.
11. Use life hacks
Check email once/twice a day (15 minutes each) and limit your social networks time to 15 minutes a day. Use 4X4.
Hope these ideas help you. Have more ideas to share? Something unique that works for you?