REFLECTION: As I write this, it’s 4:30 on Monday afternoon, and I’m feeling GOOD!
My time in the office is limited this week, and it was important for me to accomplish a few of those ‘Must Do’ items today. Otherwise, I knew I’d be scrambling as the week moved along – feeling pressured and just a wee bit frenzied at every step.
It’s amazing how satisfying it was to check those essentials off the list. Sure, there are things still not done, but the time sensitive tasks are behind me.
Makes me wonder why I don’t buckle down, focus, and work this way more often.
ACTION: The success strategy looked like this:
* List the top five critical tasks – in order of importance (not ease or interest). Keep that list directly in front of you.
* Right from the first moment of the day, start on the number one task. Work it to completion before moving on to number two.
* After each outside interruption, reorient yourself with the list, and immediately return to working on the task at hand.
* Refuse to interrupt yourself by giving in to the impulses to: check email, place low priority phone calls, or flip through items of lesser importance perched on the periphery of your vision or attention.
It’s not rocket science – but it is structured. Give it a serious try for an hour – a morning – a day. See what kind of a dent this approach makes on your list and how much it reduces your feelings of overload or overwhelm.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK: “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good.” – Mary Marshall
“If I ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient attention than to any other talent.” – Sir Isaac Newton
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: I’m only 50 pages into this book, but I’m really enjoying Lucy Jo Palladino’s insights in ‘Find Your Focus Zone’. Published 2007 by Simon & Schuster. You can check out the first chapter online at: http://www.yourfocuszone.com/bks_fyfz_ch1.html
READERS WRITE: Pause reader, MT writes: In my desire to do a good job and help people out, I have been working too much. I have a mountain of tasks, and have been thinking if I just keep working on them, the mountain will go away. I have tried to enlist the help of others where I can, but the mountain still looms and grows.
My efforts were wearing me down, making it harder for me to provide good service. So rather than continuously pushing that rock up the mountain, I decided to use my banked hours and flex time arrangements to take a day off every week.
I find most people who take a day off choose Friday or Monday. This gives them a short week and a long weekend. But instead, I’m taking Wednesdays off. I don’t get the longer weekend stretch, but I often don’t need it. Instead, by taking off Wednesdays, my “hump-day” disappears entirely. I get two short work weeks and two “weekends”.
Instead of getting worn down during the week and waiting for the weekend, I rest up and stay energized throughout the week. Sometimes the arrangement is a bit tricker for meetings and multi-day events, and I occasionally need to come in on my day off. But as more people know that’s what I’m doing, it gets easier. And, as an added benefit on those Wednesdays off, I also have more time to relax and enjoy the Pause newsletter as it arrives – hot off the press!