Some days I have more energy than I do focus. With emails chiming in, tweets popping up on my phone and that “quick” call from someone, I am realizing that it’s not time management that’s a challenge, but attention management.
Attention management is so critically important to your ability to get things done. I want to share with you 4 productivity questions I ask myself to keep focused. I then write down anything that comes to mind.
I’d like to encourage you to try this out for a few days and see how it works for you.
Each question comes from the Eisenhower Matrix of time management. If you have every read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, then you might recognize it by the 4 quadrants of time management.
Question 1: What needs to get done TODAY that only I can do?
This question helps me to focus in my areas of strength. We have all heard of the 80/20 principle. What I write down after asking myself this question shows me the 20% of my work that will give me the 80% of my results. Start your day here and determine to check off everything on your list under this question.
Question 2: What is important that I need to schedule so it will get done?
Do you have ideas or tasks that you never seem to find time to do? I know I do. The problem is what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done. Most ideas are tasks or projects with no deadlines.
Since these ideas have “no sense of urgency” you and I will never get to them if we don’t put a deadline on them.
Whatever I write down for this question, I want to have scheduled on my calendar before the end of the day. It may be that I don’t work on that idea until next week, but I do have a deadline on it now.
Question 3: What can I delegate that someone else can do for me?
We all have tasks that we should not be doing. Sometimes the main reason why we shouldn’t be doing it is because it is not in our area of strength. What might take us 4 hours to accomplish could take someone else an hour. You can get back 4 hours of your life by just delegating.
How much is 4 hours worth to you in your business? Ask this question, look over your to do list, and determine to delegate the tasks someone else can do for you.
Question 4: What do I need to avoid doing today?
We all know how easy it can be for us to waste time during our work day. We all have those certain things that rob from our time. In the morning when I ask this question, I write down those things that are the biggest time wasters for me.
They are reminders for me as I go about my day. Also, if I catch myself “killing time” during my work day, I stop what I am doing, write down the name of the distraction, and then get focused. Awareness is the first key to stop wasting time.
How Can I Put This into Practice?
Regardless of what software or system you currently use for your to do list, you can easily implement this process. Take out a notepad and divide the paper into 4 sections. Label one question with each box. Look over your current to do list and as you ask the 4 questions write down what comes to mind. Now you have an action plan for the day. I challenge you to use these questions for a few days and see if they don’t help you to become more productive.