First, plan your work based on your top priorities, and then act with a definite objective.
- Revise your daily schedule the night before to emphasize your priorities. Next to each appointment on your calendar, jot down your objectives for it.
- Send out a detailed agenda to all participants in advance of any meeting.
- When embarking on large projects, sketch out preliminary conclusions as soon as possible.
- Before reading any length material, identify your specific purpose for it.
- Before writing anything of length, compose an outline with a logical order to help you stay on track.
Second, develop effective techniques for managing the overload of information and tasks.
- Make daily processes, like getting dressed or eating breakfast, into routines so you don’t spend time thinking about them.
- Leave time in your daily schedule to deal with emergencies and unplanned events.
- Check the screens on your devices once per hour, instead of every few minutes.
- Skip over the majority of your messages by looking at the subject and sender.
- Break large projects into pieces and reward yourself for completing each piece.
- Delegate to others, if feasible, tasks that do not further your top priorities.
Third, understand the needs of your colleagues for short meetings, responsive communications, and clear directions.