3 Strategies to Adding More Productive Time to Your Day

What happened to my day? It seems like we can’t get to all the work that is assigned to us. Even critical work fails to get done. The deadline is Tuesday at 5 pm, and we still have hours ahead of us.

The key is to focus on the work that is absolutely important, and nothing else. In other words, you focus on the “A” tasks, and you use “creative procrastination on “B” and “C” activities. Many of us prefer the low priority tasks because they are less challenging. Until we focus on just the mission critical activities, we’ll fight an uphill battle with time.

Strategy #1: Ask your boss what matters the most.

You should call a meeting with your boss right away. Here is the subject line of your meeting request: Increasing My Productivity. That subject is sure to capture your manager’s attention. You’re probably the only person who is asking for clarification on the work that is most important to your organization.

There are usually three or four activities where you must exceed expectations. By focusing 95% of your time on that work, you’re more productive. Once you have that agreement with your boss, you can avoid surprises. You save time because you are no longer working on the menial and routine tasks.

Strategy #2: Stop killing time on silly and non-work stuff.

It’s so easy to get distracted. We have to check the latest ESPN scores, schedule our next vacation, or review today’s Groupon deals. We do need a little free time every now and then, but many people waste valuable time on non-work activities.

Make a plan that you will work non-stop all morning on your key activities. Once you have that momentum, you can finish strong in the afternoon. You should also schedule meetings with key people to ensure you have the information needed to complete your work.

Strategy #3: Delegate as much as possible.

The rule is to delegate any work that others can do better than you, and avoid activities that are below your pay grade. I understand that you might not have a staff that reports to you, but you can still find creative ways to have others help you.

In most companies today, for example, people are hired based on specialized skills. For example, web developers focus on enhancements to the intranet site, CPAs ensure that the SOX requirements are met, and marketing analysts promote the brand to a particular segment of the population.

Interestingly, these “specialists” can help you get your work done. Ask your manager for guidance. You…

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