Prioritize the tasks on your to-do list in order of importance and how long they will take to maximize efficiency.
One thing I have noticed working directly with AEC leadership is that they have a lot on their to-do list and it continues to fill up throughout the day. Many tasks have a set deadline, and we know we won’t have a problem delivering great results. Then there are the little things, the easy wins, the tone setters, and the things that demand our immediate attention. How do you prioritize which comes first?
Some of the larger tasks can seem to rise to the top of importance, but tackling those first isn’t always what is best for those you are working with every day. My personal preference is to divide tasks into three categories. Deadline, end of the day/evening, and two-minute drill items. If I can accomplish it in two minutes or less, it gets moved to the top of the list. In order to execute on these different tasks each day you have to master the items below.
- To-do list. Start at the top and work your way to the bottom. It’s that simple. Don’t be afraid to move something to the top if it’s an easy win. Making the bed each morning is always my first easy win for the day. The momentum for the day builds up from there.
- Journal/reflect. This can be done in a traditional pen and paper way or in the form of a blog or a consistently themed social media post. Reflecting back on your daily takeaways can be a powerful tool for yourself as well as others who are following along.
- Learn from others. See what your peers and leaders are doing to stay organized and productive. Engaging in these types of conversations will build trust and empathy between you and the rest of the staff.
- Find the minutes. If you know me well you know that I am often on the brink of exhaustion but still very much enthused by the challenges in front of me. It takes effort to push yourself those extra few minutes each day, but I promise they are the most rewarding.
- Reward yourself. Treat yourself to something nice and don’t be afraid to get selfish while doing so. Watch a movie on the plane instead of catching up on work, take a class related to your favorite hobby, volunteer in your community, retail therapy, book a trip, whatever it is just make sure you are being intentional about your self-care.
In all honesty, I spent a couple of hours writing this article, but you should have been able to read it in about two minutes!
Chad Coldiron is director of executive search at Zweig Group. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.