Have you ever reached the end of the day feeling that you haven’t accomplished anything you set out to do? We’ve all experienced those days. Email messages, voicemail, phone calls, unexpected client requests, the lure of the Internet… There’s no shortage of opportunities to get off course. Why then do some people seem to be able to defy the odds and get so much done on a consistent basis?
They set goals and stay the course.
The first step is gaining clarity on your objectives to the degree that you know exactly what needs to get done by when. This includes breaking projects into daily activities and scheduling them in your calendar. A to-do list won’t do it and neither will a project list. You need to decide when you’re going to carry out your essential activities.
This becomes your plan.
The second step is to develop the discipline required to follow the plan. David Allen in his productivity program called “Getting Things Done” warns that ignoring calendar items creates an even bigger problem than missed deadlines in that we run the risk of becoming desensitized to obligations. So a critical factor is honoring the time commitments you have with yourself as religiously as if they were appointments with your largest client.
I call this time leadership.
Ask an achiever to show you their calendar and you will most likely see a schedule full of essential activities and appointments with themselves to accomplish specific tasks. This is important for two reasons.
1) It’s easier to say no to non-essential interruptions when the calendar is full of must-do’s.
2) Humans are notorious for their ability to procrastinate. Writing appointments with yourself to achieve your most critical objectives is a surefire way to fight the procrastination beast.
Take control of your day by developing some time leadership muscles.