I am not an authority on this, and the wealth of knowledge you can find on great ways to increase productivity is larger that the GDP of some nations. All I can tell you is how I get stuff done.
I started using this method a while ago and while where the information it is stored has migrated over different platforms, the last, and most important step has stayed the same.
Everyone is familiar with a to-do list. Some keep them electronically with apps, and some keep them in a notebook of some kind, and others find random peices of paper to write their lists on (I’ll spare you my thoughts on the ineffectiveness of this method for now).
There’s one more step that I take. Some call it the “tomorrow list” and others the “big three”. Call it what you want, it’s a simple thing that I do just about everyday. I look at my large list, which can be exhaustive and intimidating as a whole, and pick the 3 things I know I can get done with the time I have today. My weeks look more the same than my days. By that I mean the monday(s) of each week looks more alike than the Monday and Tuesday of a single week. Therefore, I have varying schedules from day to day which limits the time I have to knock out things on my list. Therefore, the three I pick for some days may be small, but if I have 5-6 hours of meetings, I pick what I know I can get done in the left over time.
I can get overwhelmed by everything on my list, but three things? I can do that, and then I can take them off the list and tackle 3 more again tomorrow.
One last additional thought…..take on your toughest challenge first. Whether it’s a phone call you’ve been dreading (sometimes for no reason at all) or a lengthy email reply, take it on first….it will set the tone of accomplishment for the rest of the day.
If you don’t do something like this, give it a try next week. Three things a day….everyday!