Last week, Sarah Von Bargen’s Every. Damn. Day list got me thinking about my daily benchmarks for productivity. As a work-from-home mom, my personal list includes things like showering (a surprising luxury) and feeding the kid (yes, he wants to eat EVERY day). But since you’re here to read about management and not my sporadic personal hygiene, here are four daily tasks to keep you on track, even on days when the rest of your to-do list has gone up in flames.
1. Tidy up. I think of organizing my desk as the business equivalent of making my bed every day. It signals that I’m awake, upright and ready to tackle the day. Whether you’re a neat freak or someone who thrives in organized chaos, spend 10 minutes every day on administrative tasks – filing, opening mail, approving receipts – to keep them from becoming messy and demoralizing eyesores on your desk. Doing a little each day keeps recurring tasks from becoming huge projects that you need to fit into your schedule.
2. Walk around. Whether you call it “management by walking around” or just stretching your legs, you need to get out from behind your desk and see what the rest of your team and organization is doing. You can learn a lot from seeing your team function in real-time, so take 10 minutes each day to engage with your team without a set agenda.
3. Think long-term. It’s easy to get caught up in the urgency of daily tasks and forget to allow time for working on your long-term goals. Networking, professional development, deliberate practice – you don’t need to schedule large blocks of time for these things. Once you’ve mapped out tasks required to reach your long-term goal, you can work your plan in 10 minute increments. You’ll be surprised by how much you will accomplish over the course of a month.
4. Do nothing. Spend 10 minutes each day reading, writing or thinking about something non-work related. And, no, I don’t mean browsing E! Online or Facebook, although sometimes those little brain-breaks are healthy. Instead, pick a topic you want to learn more about – creativity, happiness, design – and allow yourself a daily 10 minutes to explore it. Getting your brain out of its normal routine will give you fresh perspective and inspiration when you return to work.
“A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.”
~ Anthony Trollope
(Photo credit: Microsoft)