Working Easier Tips

Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.
--Abraham Lincoln

Be Productive
  • Five Minute Rule - if it can be done in 5 minutes or less, do it the minute you first see it. Never procrastinate on this stuff or handle it more than once - do it and get it over with or you'll end up spending far more than 5 minutes on it by the time you finally quit moving it around on your desk and actually get it done
  • Don't let people steal your time. State your time constraints. If you only have a few minutes or you're busy, say so. Let people decide whether to speak with you later, solve their problem without you, or talk to someone else
  • Identify and schedule important follow-up items. After leaving a meeting, take the time to figure out what follow-up is needed and either do it on the spot or put a note in your tickler file for the day you'll need to do it
  • Work smarter instead of harder. Spend at least a third as much time coming up with new ways to do your work better as you spend actually doing it. This is the only way to avoid spending too much time on low-value, time consuming tasks
  • Follow the 5 Ds approach to work
Get Organized
  • Batch routine tasks - update your calendar, return phone calls, read mail and email 2-3 times per day in blocks of time set aside for those purposes to avoid getting seriously behind, to reduce interruptions, and to save time overall
  • Schedule strategically and sensibly. Don't schedule back-to-back meetings all day - leave time between meetings to check email and calls, pick up necessary meeting materials, handle emergencies, have some lunch, etc.
  • Block out time on your calendar every day for meeting preparation, catching up, and thinking - and then honor the blocked time. Consider it as important as any other scheduled meeting and don't schedule over it - really use it to prepare, catch up and think
  • Notes on Calendar Write things down. Free your brain and reduce anxiety by leaving nothing to memory. Keep a running projects list and, if you need it, a daily to-do list. Carry these and your calendar with you always
  • Find a system that works for you and use it
Think Long-Term, Not Just for Today
  • It's not necessary for things to be perfect. They just have to get better. Avoid sacrificing the good in a vain quest for the perfect
  • Resist any natural tendency to over-emphasize risks and under-estimate benefits
  • Believe that what is necessary is possible
  • Make it a habit to think about changes you might want to implement or suggest in work processes - and then implement or suggest them
  • Take time every day to think about to whom you owe a thank-you or other recognition, then give it
  • Trust people - give them the gifts of your confidence and support
  • Demonstrate leadership every chance you get
  • Help other people develop instead of trying to do everything yourself
  • Ask Why? and Why not? all the time
  • Be strategic, not just tactical
  • Focus on what matters most