How to have a productive day? Project management is no rocket science

How to have a productive day? Project management is no rocket science

You sure know this pattern: the list of things one wants and needs to do is always much longer than the list of things you actually accomplish. If you want to be more productive, setting realistic goals is what you should start with.

Define your tasks clearly and specificly enough so know when you've achieved them. If they're larger, break them down into long-term and short-term goals so they're easier to manage. Also try to overcome the inner pressure to be perfect in any respect. After all, why should have invested so much time in that presentation when nobody will really notice? Does to the house really have to be aseptically clean and the kids have a warm meal every single day? In the end the overachiever gets only frustrated.

After you learned your limits and accepted that neither you nor your performance need to be perfect, it's time to organize your habits and ways of working more effectively.

Take time to organize yourself
Write or check your to-do list regularly, preferably every morning.  It helps to take a few minutes at the end of the day to figure out what your plans are for the next day. Maybe you can complete a few quick tasks that will make your morning easier, such as setting out clothes. It's very important to know what's done already and what's coming up.

Know your priorities
Take several minutes to list your priorities for the upcoming day or week. Keep the list in a place where you can look at it frequently and make sure the important tasks and dearest people come first. Spending time on stuff that's not so relevant in the end will make you waste your life on the things that don’t matter. Remember it's damn short!

Limit your time
Setting clear deadlines to your activities may help to motivate yourself. Especially it works to contain the time you spend on handling unnecessary e-mails or surfing on Facebook. Setting the timer also helps to get things done you normally procrastinate such as paying the bills. And what's most important: reward yourself after you accomplished the task. No matter if it's with ten minutes yoga or a glass of wine and a cigarette.

Don't let yourself be distracted
Need to concentrate on your work? Turn off television, mute the smart phone and put away the tablet. You don't need to “just quick check something” every few minutes. If you need some time to focus, don't even hesitate to ask your colleagues or family for some time being left undisturbed.

Give yourself a break
For many this is the hardest part. Everybody needs some time to recover. Let yourself be helped by people who support you and by technology that can make your self organization more effective. Time management tools can watch over your appointments, display your tasks in different ways and even integrate your communication and file sharing.

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