I've read probably more than my fair share of productivity articles. Much of that time probably could've been spent doing something productive. The irony is not lost on me.
One common theme I see in many productivity articles includes doing your biggest or hardest task first thing in the day. While I don't think that's the wrong approach or that it lacks merit, it's just not an approach that works for me.
So what do I do?
I typically don't do work first thing in the morning. I wake up, go take my dog for a walk and then work out, do some morning reading, watch the news over coffee, or do a combination of those things before heading out the door. Sometimes the only "work" I do (aside from catching up on industry news) is writing this blog or jotting some thoughts down in my Day One journaling app.
I really don't get down to business until I'm in my office for the day. I've also tried to avoid opening email at that time (though that's not always true).
Take on the quick wins first
Every day I have what I would call "maintenance" tasks. This could include catching up my time sheets, making sure client social media content is scheduled out for the day, doing a brief scan of social listening dashboards inside of Brandwatch and THEN reviewing email. I may not turn on Outlook until 9:30-10am.
Those maintenance tasks are things that HAVE to be done that day, normally sooner rather than later. Once I get into a big task or project, I usually don't like to come up for air in fear of losing momentum. So that the day doesn't sneak up on me, I knock out those "easier" (aka quicker) tasks first thing to have the rest of the day before me.
So my day:
- Do non-work tasks to get into a rhythm
- Complete maintenance tasks first thing when I walk into the office
- Check and respond to emails
- Tackle a big project
- Take on a few smaller tasks if I complete or make major headway on the larger project
Sometimes, I may have a larger project to work on in addition to a "less fun" project on the same day. On those instances, I'll tackle the "less fun" task just to get it out of the way. Helps me dedicate more of myself to the bigger task without the other stuff hanging over my head.
Everyone has their own way of doing things and one system doesn't always work for everyone.
What about you? How do you delegate to-dos for yourself?