To go to work. Catch up on emails.
Once I get on the go, nothing can interfere with my workday. For me, the next hour looks something like this:
Wake up, check my emails. Start my day: If you get ahead of yourself, you might spend the first 15 minutes coming up with a list of what to do that day. It’s a handy compendium, but if you stop there you could lose some momentum (and time). Only a third of us set a list of new tasks, according to SurveyMonkey, so start in the middle.
Keep the list clear. “Focus on the get-things-done goals first thing and then you’ll reach the other tasks more easily,” says Stella Suy, a personal-productivity consultant and author of Out of Reach: The Navigating for the Solo Worker. “Find a system for sticking to those goals even in a workday jammed with work, caretaking, or family duties.”
Wake up. Get work done.
Pick a time to make it “come to me.” For me, it’s 10 a.m. I don’t leave the house until after I’ve got a few hours to kill. “Get into flow,” Suy says. “Get your work done in the first few minutes of waking. That often also happens when you’re laying in bed at night. Be in the right state of mind.”
Flexibility is essential. I’ve learned to know how much time I have before I’m under pressure, so that if I have a half-hour to hang out at the office, I go at lunchtime when I have time to talk to co-workers and socialize. To sit still for long periods of time, I need to try a little less: Get some rest or take some downtime. If you feel tired and distracted, it’s okay to cut back.
Be consistent. In less hectic times, you might want to read ahead, or to have some late evening coffee and socialize with co-workers. But in a fast-paced office, it may be too tempting to switch from one task to another. This sets up a dangerous pattern: Switch at your desk and have to switch all over again when you get home. Try to be consistent.