Every day, we are all given the same 24 hours. So why do some people get more out of their day than others?
The people who are the most successful are the ones who earn the highest return on their hours. Quality matters more than quantity. How do we create the most value in each hour and earn the highest possible return on our time? Here are some tips to improve your effectiveness each and every day:
- Choose effectiveness over efficiency. There is a big difference between effectiveness and efficiency. If you complete each task on your to-do list with a high degree of efficiency but haven’t generated the results you want, you are not being effective. Are the tasks you are completing making your day as productive as possible? Many people spend their days being busy without first pausing to evaluate which tasks will give the highest return on their time and which tasks are nonessential. Peter Drucker said, “Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things.” Choose the right things — the things that reap the highest return on every hour — and delegate or eliminate the nonessentials.
- Prioritize your activities. Once you choose activities that increase your effectiveness rather than your efficiency, you need to determine each task’s level of importance. Ask yourself, “If I could complete only one of these tasks today, which would yield the greatest impact on the growth/profitability of my organization?” Add lower-priority but still-essential tasks to a to-do list and return to them once high-priority tasks are completed — no exceptions. Prioritizing your schedule ensures that your daily activity is aligned with your long-term goals and objectives.
- Plan your day each morning. Each morning before you begin work, plan how you will invest every hour. Without a plan, the day can easily get away from you. You get busy being busy and before long, it’s 6 p.m. and you are left wondering what progress you actually made. The more intentional you are about aligning your daily activities based on return on time and congruency with your goals and objectives, the more rewards you will reap. Your hours are too valuable to be subject to unpredictability.
- Maximize your mornings. For many, the most productive and energetic time of the day is the morning. Early mornings are the best time to get your most important priorities of the day completed. Afternoons tend to be interrupted by distractions. Blocking out time in the mornings to complete your most pressing and challenging priorities is a very effective way of making significant progress in your day; you are sowing seeds for the rest of the day to be successful and productive.
Implementing these simple tips consistently will help bring a lot of clarity to your day, giving you the ability to organize and focus on the activities that will produce the best results — and get you closer to accomplishing your goals.