Sunday, July 17, 2011

Upgrading Productivity

I want to more be productive...  

But there are so many distractions!  There are the obvious ones i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Sudoku, then I have the ones that seem important, but prevent me from adding value that matters by ruining focus, i.e. email, phone calls, etc.

Why not try something new?

I recently read about something called the Pomodoro Technique.  Basically, you get a timer.  You commit to working on a task for 25 min.  When the timer stops.  You stop your work, make a mark on your sheet, and move to the next task after a short break...NOT MY STYLE!!!

I need much more flexibility than 25 minutes with a timer.  My tweak was to bunch my hours into blocks.

For the last month my work day looks like this:

Block 1: 8-11am - WORK My first three hours at work are spent on the important projects; the ones that I affect my value.  I make this time sacred by blocking it on my calendar to prevent my administrative assistant from scheduling any meetings during that time.  I also turn off my IM, my Groupwise Notify, put my phone in my desk, and close my door.  The only windows open on my computer are ones that I need to work on my projects.

Block 2: 11-12pm RESTORE  This is an hour of relaxation.  I go check my mailbox and connect with my colleagues and student employees, read some blogs, check my social media.

12-1pm  LUNCH!

Block 3: 1-3:30pm  TASKS   This block of time is dedicated to replying to emails, returning phone calls, and paperwork.  I log into my IM, open my door, and just react to people's needs as they come to me.  I make it a point to ONLY check email during this time, so once per day! #winning

Block 4: 3:30-4:30pm  ME  I like to spend this time doing some personal professional development.  I spend my last hour reading articles about higher education, student development, etc.

This works like a charm!  

A simple and effective way of focusing my energy.  I've made remarkable progress on projects that would have sat on my desk for far too long before this tweak.  The only difficult part of this process is getting my colleagues to recognize my blocks.  You have to be adamant about this process or it won't work.  People expect replies, feedback, etc immediately; the trick is being consistent to train them to know when you will deliver.

How do you structure your day to stay productive?


Post a Comment