Tuesday Top 10: Improving Your Workflow

Topic: Strategies, Top 10|


I almost didn’t post today because I’m feeling pretty sick.  But I figured it would be easy enough to put together a quick top 10 on ways to improve your workflow and overall organization.

  1. Plan your day out the night before.  I just use notepad and outline the core responsibilities I have for the next day.  Too many people don’t have any idea what they should be working on because they don’t take the time to write down what it is they need to do.
  2. Use a calendar like sunbird, google calendar, or iCal to do more long term planning.  It’s easy to set reminders and keep yourself on task this way.
  3. Knock out the more tedious tasks like cleaning your workspace or organizing your filing cabinet before moving onto the more interesting things.  Otherwise the boring stuff never gets done.
  4. Brainstorm or Mind Map once every two weeks.  You don’t have to make a ritual out of it, but this helps you to think long term as opposed to living in the moment all the time.
  5. Build your own whiteboard.  I did and it has helped me out a ton already.  I’ll have a post on Friday showing off my home office along with steps on how I constructed everything.
  6. Utilize online services for keeping up with your contacts.  High Rise by 37signals is perfect.
  7. Carry a day planner with you.  I scribble down notes and todos between classes and during boring lectures, then transfer them to my computer when I get home.  It’s also a nice place to store a stack of business cards and other essentials.
  8. Set aside time for sidetracking.  It’s all too easy to hit your Stumble Upon button or check your RSS feeds.  I’m not saying don’t do it, but I am saying plan ahead because it does happen.
  9. If you’re like me, you check your inbox constantly.  When I’m away from my desk, I still check constantly from my smartphone.  Checking and responding to emails is incredibly unproductive.  I’m trying to limit myself to 4 times a day – and even that is too much – when I wake up, lunch time, 5ish, and before bed.
  10. I’m leaving number 10 open to your suggestions.  I’m looking forward to your comments to see what other methods you use to increase productivity.

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