It’s Monday and you have high expectations about what you are going to get done this week.
There are millions of things that need to be done, but we all know that it’s those “high impact” activities that make a difference. They are the ones that get you noticed and rewarded.
You have the best of intentions, but as the week progresses you get sidetracked by too many meetings, too many emails, and too many of “a lot of things” that don’t add up to a productive week. You end up falling behind and feeling frustrated.
If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone.
We all have days that get away from us. Unexpected things can wreak havoc with your goals. So, how do you go about managing those things and still have a high-impact week?
Here’s our “Take Five”:
1. Plan Next Week This Friday – The best time to plan your week is NOT Monday morning, when you are mentally transitioning from the weekend. Create your plan on Friday afternoon when you’re still in synch with the work week and are energized by the upcoming weekend. Friday afternoons tend to be quieter, with people leaving early or working remotely, so it’s a perfect time to plan. An added bonus is that by planning you free up your mind for the weekend, knowing what’s in store for the following week.
2. Front Load Your Week – When you plan your week, “front load” it so that you accomplish 70% of your work by the end of Wednesday. It’s not as hard as it sounds. By pushing a little harder Monday – Wednesday, you can squeeze in an extra half day’s work and make the rest of the week less stressful. You’ll also feel energized because you’ve done so much early on. This will spur you on to accomplish even more.
3. Focus on High Impact Activities – Make sure that you are working on the activities that will have the greatest impact on your career. We all have “maintenance” things that need to be done. Whenever possible, delegate as many of these things as you can. For things you can’t delegate, think of ways to do them more efficiently. Doing your routine things is expected. Doing the high-impact activities are where the real rewards are.
4. Be Highly Accountable to Yourself – Make a realistic schedule and stick to it. Monitor your plan a couple of times a day to see if you’re still on track. Taking this approach is an effective way to focus on the things that matter. Do the most important things and try not to get derailed.
5. Only Attend Meetings That Make Sense – This had to be its own bullet point because of the “meeting mania” that happens in too many companies. It may be flattering to be invited to meetings, but you have to pick and choose which ones deserve your time and attention. For those you have to attend, don’t stay longer than necessary. Whenever possible, send someone in your place. This will free you up to do other things and give that designated person a chance to grow.
By planning ahead you can hit the ground running on Monday morning. Keep focusing your energies on the things that matter most and you’ll have a high-impact week.