Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Lincoln’s quote speaks to the value of preparation and having the right tools. In business, success is driven by thoughtful planning and effective implementation.
Most of us are trying to get back into the swing of things after a holiday slumber. It seems our brains are naturally wired to begin working on new ways to be more productive. Many will make a resolution to make better to do lists, only to find themselves exasperated at the end of the day with little sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, the tool many of us lean on is the one thing holding us captive to our lack of productivity: the to-do list.
My advice for being more productive in 2016: screw the to-do list!
In Kevin Kruse’s book “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management”, he offers a solution to the downward spiral to do lists cause. Rather than adding your tasks for the day to some legal pad or Moleskin notebook, create a calendar appointment. According to Kruse, this allows you to allocate your time to accomplish the tasks rather than trying to squeeze them in between meetings or other daily time hogs.
The key to success will rely on your commitment to treating this calendar appointment as a doctor’s appointment. If you schedule fifteen minutes to complete an expense report, then start the task at the appointment time regardless of what the day throws at you. At the end of the fifteen minutes, if you haven’t finished the task, look at your calendar and allot more time.
I think you’ll find this method to be more productive and provide you the ability sleep soundly at night knowing you allocated your time to complete the necessary tasks for the day.