I was just reading a great article by Brett Nelson of Forbes, called "Eight Secrets To Getting More Done In 2012." I love the ideas he's assembled, particularly the one about "Hourly Gut Checks."
With his post in mind, I have an idea of my own to contribute: The Top 5 Things.
The Top 5 Things
This is a pretty simple concept that I use, which I find to be very useful:
- Start with a "mind sweep" as prescribed in David Allen's Getting Things Done methodology - get everything out of your head, out of your inbox, out of meeting notes, etc. in to one big list.
- When you sit down to plan your week, look at this list and pick the top 5 things you need to get done this week from the list. Try to pick the 5 things that will have the most impact or drive the most progress toward your most important goals.
- Write your Top 5 on an index card.
- Carry that index card with you, and review it regularly to help you focus on what is important. As things get done, mark them off.
- Repeat the process.
You can do this weekly, or just wait until you've done your top 5 - figure out what works best for you.
Another thing I've found useful is to use the back of the index card to record the "in the moment" priorities you end up working on, so you can review the things you chose to work on instead of your top 5. This can be helpful in figuring out what (or who) is undermining your productivity. Sometimes you'll find your doing it to yourself.
Got any tips of your own? Please share!