A Checklist for Personal Efficiency
At the end of the day, there are two ways to excel in business: Right strategy and personal effectiveness. Strategy is often a complex matter, and personal effectiveness is simpler, but very few do it well.
Yet the potential gains when you maximize how efficiently you perform can be astronomical. There are people who are quite literally achieving 3 times what others are getting done, every single week. After 5 years of performing at high efficiency they end up leaving the others in the dust. As a high performance coach for business leaders, I am constantly working on improving their personal effectiveness.
In my experience there are seven important areas to focus on. Print this list out and keep it on your desk, then monitor yourself on it daily. I can assure you, your personal efficiency will skyrocket.
1. Plan your day in advance.
Don’t just start work. Take 15 minutes to carefully go through what your tasks are, get them all down on paper. Next , decide when you will do each item throughout the day. Only then should you begin your day’s work. Such planning may look like a waste of time, but it usually doubles the speed at which your To Do list gets done.
As Abraham Lincoln said, ” If I had six hours to cut down a tree I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the axe.”
2. Do the most important tasks first.
Let’s face it, these days there is simply not enough time to get all your To Do’s done. So if you don’t do your most crucial jobs first, many days you will find they never get done at all.
3. Rush unimportant tasks.
This is a rarely mentioned technique of efficiency. You can unlock huge amounts of time by rushing jobs that don’t matter much. As Warren Buffettput it, “Whats’ not worth doing is not worth doing well.”
4. Work in uninterrupted blocks.
Interruptions destroy efficiency. The more you can find a quiet place to work uninterrupted on your To Do’s, the more you’ll get done. Consider working two mornings a week at a nearby coffee shop. Or book a meeting room at your office and post a big ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door.
5. Don’t do emails until 11am.
When you start work, glance at your emails for anything truly urgent. (This should take no more than ten minutes). Then forget about email until mid morning. Don’t be one of those people that puts everyone else’s priorities before your own.
6. Pick one key job for the day.
What’s the one task that would help your business the most? Get clear on this, each and every day. If all you did was achieve your single most important task daily, in 3 months your business would be powering. But most people have never identified what their key daily task is.
7. Have a finishing time.
Everyone has a start time, but few have a time they must leave at the end of the day. You’d be amazed how much more efficient you become when you do. When you know there’s a certain time you must finish work, it forces you to work quickly all through the day so you can make the deadline. But when your work day is open ended, there’s no real need to work fast. Remember Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands to fill the time allotted for it.”
So that’s your personal efficiency checklist. Keep it nearby as you work through your day.
If you can stick to this list daily you will find you will radically change how much you achieve. You’ll be able to work less and earn more. Your stress will go down and your confidence will go up.