(Updated on 30th Aug, 2020 with lockdown inputs)
Stephen Covey is reputed to have said, ‘The key is not to prioritise what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities!‘. I have to agree. To increase productivity, you have to be ruthless in prioritising! Ruthless, I say.
Does this sound familiar?
It is the start of the weekend. Good times are finally here. You start the day with your morning cuppa and decide that this is going to be it. This is the day when you get it all done. All those nagging little personal household items that you have been putting off forever. Today is the day you crack it!
Four hours later, its lunchtime and you’re lolly-lagging around in your PJs, the TV is blaring, your disgruntled spouse is glaring at you over his/her phone and you haven’t gotten a thing done.
This is the sound of your weekend going to hell.
But…there is always a silver lining.
Next weekend, try these 3 simple-sounding (but hard as hell to follow-through on) hacks to get your groove on and increase productivity on the personal front before your spouse is provoked to justifiable homicide!
1. Separate work time from personal time
I could ask you…how many times have you carried work home on the weekend? Except that this lockdown, there is no concept of work & home – the two have blended together into this blurry mess of work-from/at/on-home!
But the point that I am alluding to here, is that in order to get your personal productivity high, there has to be a separation of personal & professional, no matter how hard that is in the work-from-home scenario. So, if increasing productivity on the personal front is a priority (and I assume it is if you’re reading this), then you need to create that artificial division now.
Be ruthless about not letting office work infringe on personal time. Whether that time is spent on lolly-lagging before said TV or getting things on your personal work-list done, is a different matter. You first need to create that space in your schedule before that space can become productive. Easier said than done though.
One way that I have found that helps, is to use your office calendar to schedule your work hours. While you already have time marked for meetings, pencil in specific slots for email clearing, working on specific projects, team catch-up calls or even preparing inputs for an upcoming meeting. If anything takes up time in your workday, it needs to be on that calendar.
Then similarly, pencil in personal work slots, so there is a clear demarcation as to when your personal time starts. It helps!
2. Pick one key thing to achieve per weekend
Let’s not get overambitious here. It is pretty darn unlikely that you’re going to get to the bottom of your considerable personal list in one weekend. I’m pretty sure that you don’t even have a list yet.
(On an aside, make one).
So, pick one thing you want to get done this weekend.
Something that would take you 2-3 hours of uninterrupted work. Maybe a blog you’ve been wanting to write. Or is it that quality time spent playing a sport with your child? Could it be that dental appointment you’ve been putting off? Or is it that workout you’ve been meaning to get to (forever)?
Whatever that is, pick it. Choose it. Slot a time for it. Get it done.
Enjoy the righteous afterglow 🙂
3. Plan the next weekend now
Choose your top item for the next weekend.
Put it up someplace you can see it daily.
Pencil it into your office calendar.
Talk about it to everyone as if it’s a foregone conclusion. (Ignore the head-shaking and nay-sayers. What do they know? Set an alarm so that you don’t prove them right)
Prioritisation exists in our heads but putting it down on paper makes it a reality.
Now, get started. Your spouse is starting to glare!