On Being Productive

August 26, 2009

Many people use some kind of planner.  But what is your routine in managing your calendar? I’m amazed how many people don’t look at their calendar as nothing more than a sophisticated “to-do” list. A list may have no thought as to Objects - Time and Moneywhat is the most productive order to complete the tasks.  I find this when I make a grocery list. Sometimes I go down the list getting everything I need, but I’m wandering back and forth in the grocery store. If I spend a few minutes organizing the list, I’d get out of the grocery store faster.

Here are some suggestions for increasing productivity (yes, this is my routine):

Friday afternoon look at the upcoming work week.

What meetings are scheduled? If there’s no agenda for a meeting, make sure you need to be at the meeting. Make a list for what you need to do to prepare for meetings.

Plan your “Empty Time”.

Empty time is the time where there’s no meeting.  This is the time you could:

  • Use to prepare for upcoming meetings – read any documentation, previous meeting notes
  • Type up meeting notes
  • Respond to email
  • Think, yes think about the problems you are trying to tackle. Be determine to add value to your work environment and any meeting you attend.

Don’t let anyone add to your schedule for the upcoming week!

There are only two people I allow to add to my work schedule at the last minute and they are several pay grades higher than me. If someone wants a meeting request that the meeting be scheduled a week out. Most meetings I attend are the ones I schedule, I prefer to give people at least 2 weeks to prepare. But with the way work goes, one week is usually the best I can do. I expect the same in return.

Every morning look at your calendar and To-do list.

Make any adjustments if necessary. I look at the previous day and carry-over any to-do items that were undone.

One of my engineering professors once shared that we should know the value of our time and never waste it. The value of your time isn’t only what you make per hour on the job. You determine the value of your time. Respect it and the value of other peoples’ time.

Laurinda

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I'm Laurinda and I'm a Program Manager by day, Writer by night, Engineer by trade, Speaker sometimes & Christian always. I have a passion for leadership, wine, good friends & science fiction.

5 responses to On Being Productive

  1. Great practices. I love the idea of planning your empty time. A persistent complaint in so many organizations is too many meetings. Yet the people complaining often pack their calendars so tight that they don’t have time to prepare for the meetings they do have. The reason given is they have no choice yet I think we have far more choice than we embrace.

    Empty space is one way to make sure you have the space to be prepared. And maybe if more people actually took the time to prepare there would be a lot less complaining about wasted time at meetings!

  2. I’ll admit that I’m not a great list keeper and am rather spontaneous with my decisions. Yet what you suggest makes some sense to me. I’m generally aware of what I can be doing in my spare time to be productive, and feel that I am. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Great tips to be successful. Appreciate your site and your willingness to share!

  4. Great blog post, Laurinda, I usually schedule “Me” time. Which you call “empty time” — My “empty time” is to catch up on my reading and to just think. Allowing myself the quiet time. I truly believe, I am more productive in the long run. Your blog had great tips for productivity. Thanks for sharing.