Effective and efficient: achieve your goals with a little self-discipline

Published December 20th, 2015 - 10:47 GMT

You went to bed early last night to avoid waking up grumpy and tired, you woke up and prepared a mental list of all the things you want to work on today. But as most of people do, you checked your email as early as you arrived to the office and found 10 other tasks you needed to do. Your phone starts to ring, text messages pop up like there's no tomorrow and your mood starts to change after you realize you've been reading emails and answering inquiries not related to your project for the past hour if not longer.

You maybe wondering now; how can you manage your day at work effectively, and achieve your goals. Here are some tips from the experts that can provide some guidance.

Don’t check your email for the first hour

Opposite to what you may think, checking your email as early as you get up is actually counter-productive. “Reading e-mails at home never feels good or productive, if something urgently needs my attention, someone will call or text me” says David Karp, founder of Tumblr who doesn't recommend checking your email before 9:30 or 10:00 AM.

Try to have a period at the beginning of every day to think about your schedule, catch up with friends, and complete at least one task.

The rule of thumb here is not to check email first unless your job depends on it. That is, if your job is literally checking and responding to emails. Why not? Because going through them might overwhelm you with information and ideas, and scatter your thoughts so leave it as late as possible in the day to get your work done.

Use email Sparingly

When you do tackle email, write your own sparingly. The rule is when you notice yourself writing an email longer than one screen, it’s time to pick up the phone. You can save countless hours with that one rule.

Get rid of the most unbearable task

Mark Twain said that "if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, you’ve got it behind you for the rest of the day, and nothing else looks so bad". If you tackle that one thing you're dreading the most you will clear up some space and avoid unpleasant interactions from the people involved in that thing later on.

Turn off your mobile during meetings

It is important to treat your resources as a personal treasure. For that reason, it is essential to learn to say no to tasks not among your priorities. For instance, turn off your mobile during a meeting instead of idly glancing over it to see what emails have come in. Save that for later, when you know you’ll be able to respond. Additionally, don’t use up your energy thinking about a project until you have all the information you need about it.

Find and protect your quality thinking time

Quality thinking time is the "time when you’re able to focus deeply and achieve what you set out to achieve in the time you expect" according to David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute and author of Your Brain at Work. Most of people find that the best time for quality thinking is early in the day and early in the week that means Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday morning. During this time, turn off all distractions — email alerts, your phone ringer, etc.

By Shaden Abdulrahman

Copyright: Arab News © 2022 All rights reserved.

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