13 small things to simplify your workday

By 3rd April 2010Creative

Simplify your workdayThis is a really good article that I’m really pleased to say, I’ve been following nearly every item on the list for the last few months and it’s made a huge difference to what I achieve.

The premise of the article is around how to reduce distractions and create focus in your workday, citing:

“If you don’t have control, or if you find yourself thinking, “I can’t do these things”, I’d start to ask why not? Is it possible to change things, if not today then over the long term? I found that often I thought something wasn’t possible (working from home, for example), but in the long run they were.”

The thirteen small things are:

  1. Start early
  2. Limit your hours
  3. Make a short list
  4. Batch distractions
  5. Write shorter emails
  6. Limit meetings
  7. Automate
  8. Eliminate paperwork
  9. Clear your desk
  10. Get away
  11. Take breathing breaks
  12. Practice a focus ritual
  13. Schedule big blocks of creative time

I start every day between 6:30AM and 7:00AM always – even on weekends. When I was young, I believed in the motto of “the early bird catches the worm” – except when I was a teenager, there was no way that was going to happen! Now I’m out of my teens *cough*, I love to be up early, appreciate the sunshine or whatever the weather and get a lot of work done, clearing things down, catching up on emails, and preparing before others have even awoke or started work. I also found that when working in London city for some years, it was better to take really early trains, relax and read in space, and start work in a relaxed state of mind to face the chaos later in the day!

I’ve got my day down to about 3 tasks per day – that means that I will plan to deliver just 3 things in the day, and not let any distractions occur. This keeps falling foul though as I will get pulled into support clients or help technically … not sure what to do there yet, apart from delegate to staff al the time!

The one thing I think is really missing from this list is INTEGRITY.

I think without integrity, there is no workability. The day may go fine, you may get results, but without discipline and integrity it is likely not to go the way you planned.

Having integrity means saying NO a lot more than saying YES in your day.

Saying “no” to distractions that deviate from what you set out to do.

Powerfully saying “no” to requests that are not a priority over your goals.

There’s something very special for me at the moment that is getting to the end of the day, and saying I achieved exactly what I set out to do and nothing more and nothing less. If I can start achieving that for a whole week, every week, then for a month … I set my goals high … so there’s no reason I cannot achieve everything I set out to do.