productivity Jul 11, 2019

Do you ever find that no matter how hard you try you can’t seem to keep all the balls in the air? Do you consistently leave your office exhausted or mentally taxed?

Are You Operating at Peak Productivity?

If so, I have a free resource for you!

In today’s blog post & video, I walk you through my proven system that not only saved my sanity but actually introduced joy and peace of mind into my workday. As an added bonus this system made me a more valuable asset to my executive and organization!

You can snag your own copy of the Peak Productivity Roadmap here:

If you want to take a deeper dive into the concepts discussed in the Peak Productivity Roadmap, then be sure to sign up for my email list in order to receive details regarding my upcoming course, Ultimate Time Management For Assistants (UTMA).

Check out the video:

Check out the transcription:

Hey guys, I'm Annie of and this month at Whole Assistant, we are getting really tactical with regards to how to get all those tasks done that we need to get done, how to keep all the balls in the air while making sure that we get those needle moving, most important projects and tasks completed. So today I'm going to be walking you through my peak productivity roadmap and this is the system that I use personally to manage my time and I actually keep it posted really close to my desk on a board just to remind me if ever I'm feeling off my game or in need of a refresher, I can just look over and see it and it keeps me on track. So I'm just going to show you what it is and then we'll just step through it.

Real quickly though. I just want to say that in order to really unlock productivity, we're going to have to make a bit of a mental shift. And I'm going to go into this more in detail in a couple of weeks as to what this looks like, but we're just going to have to get away, but in order to be truly productive, we're going to really have to get away from the old way of thinking about productivity, which the equation looks something like time plus effort equals productivity, so we're going to have to ditch that and we're actually going to have to look at what we actually produce. In the new equation, productivity would equal the amount achieved or produced. And this way it frees us up. It frees up our time more, it frees up our energy more, and we can actually look at what's being produced as opposed to how much time and effort is going into what's being produced.

So keep that in mind as I walk you through these steps of my peak productivity roadmap and just know that in a couple of weeks, I am actually going to have a full written blog post, I'm going to do a video on that mindset shift as well, so stay tuned for that. So the first step in my productivity roadmap is to create a master to-do list with five categories. I'm going to go over the five categories in a minute, but really what I want to emphasize here is the importance for a centralized to do list. And I recommend that your to-do list be digital as well because you can access a digital to-do list a lot easier than you can a piece of paper that's stuck in the office. So I tend to house... I house my personal to-do list in Trello and I'm also going to be offering an upcoming webinar on how to set up Trello and how to create the ultimate master to-do list in Trello, so stay tuned for that and if you're not on my email list, get on my email list because that's the best way you will know to get notice of when that free Webinar is.

But I love Trello because I'm able to access it from anywhere. I've got one list and one list only. This eliminates the need for sticky notes, it eliminates the need for writing and rewriting our handwritten lists. So I know this is very controversial and I know we all have our own ways of tracking our tasks, but this way works really, really well for me and it's accessible from anywhere. I've got the app on my phone, so if I need to say I get home I'm like, oh shoot, I forgot to add this to my list, I can just pop on my phone and add it right away. It's very convenient and it's all centralized and now nothing falls through the cracks.

So the five categories that we're going to put on our master to-do list regardless of whether or not it is digital is to do this week, to do today, in process, completed and to do next week. So basically we're going to take these tasks and move them down the line on the list and so you can see at a glance where everything is at with this way of organizing your to-do list. So to do this week, everything you were hoping to get done in the week or when things are added to your list, to do today, those are your top priority items, the items that need to get done immediately, in process, so I've got... some things are in a holding pattern or I've started something, but haven't really been able to wrap it up yet, that goes in the in-process list, completed, that's done and I love that list, I love to see it grow throughout the week, and to do next week. And also keeping a good completed list actually is a good reference point for you. So if anybody ever questions what you completed in a week, you can pull that completed list and give them a rundown.

So the first step is to create a master to-do list with five categories, which I just walked over with you. The next thing is to weigh priorities and batch similar tasks together. So you want to weigh your priorities and if there's something similar that you can put with a top priority, say I like to batch checking my email and calendaring items together because they function out of the same system, it's a lot easier to go through my email and schedule things that are requested at the same time that I'm doing that. Those are two items that I batch together. Other things would be, I also handle paying bills for my executive and working in quick books, so I may pull up a report, one of my quick books while I'm paying bills and that is another example of batching.

Now, when we'd be a higher priority and that's okay, I just tend to take the lower priority item and do it at the same time as the higher priority item. If your time allows. It's kind of a bit of a dance, figuring out the batching and prioritizing thing, but it will save you a lot of mental energy because you won't have to switch from drastically different tasks back and forth quite as much if you actually batch some more tasks together.

Number three is to set time restraints around your tasks. I love this because I'm a perfectionist and I'm betting a lot of other assistants, a lot of you are probably perfectionist too and this keeps that perfectionist tendency at bay. If I've only got 10 minutes to complete a task, you better believe I'm not going to worry so much about everything being so perfect and I'm not going to worry about wordsmithing the perfect email. I'm going to be effective instead of perfect. And I much rather be effective. It's a much better use of my time than trying to get everything perfect, perfect, perfect all the time. And also this also helps us not to... semi time parameters also helps us not to get on Facebook, look at cat videos and get distracted because we need to stay on task if we only have 10 minutes to complete a task. So set a reasonable time parameter around each task and then work till it's done. Work till completion.

And then I like to also minimize distractions and interruptions. So I will close, which I just kind of touched on in setting time restraints, but I will close unnecessary programs on my computer, I will minimize email at least if not close it out altogether, I will put my phone away, I will communicate with coworkers that I'm in the middle of something and I will touch base with them when I'm done, and now of course if it's an important urgent item that they need, I attend to that, seat to that, but more often than not it's not. So really just try to minimize those distractions and interruptions. And then we want to mono-task for between 20 and 45 minutes. We want to focus on one item that we are doing or maybe a sequence of items that we're hoping to get done depending on how your brain works. So I'm coming out with my first course at the end of this month, so stay tuned for that where I will break down in this course exactly how to do each step in this roadmap.

But the idea is that watch to pay attention to our brains and when we notice that we are not operating at peak productivity, that means it's time for a five minute break, maybe a 10 minute break, get up, move around, get away from your desk and then get back on task as much as you can. Now, say your coworker visited your desk while you were trying to work and trying to get something done. That would be a great time when you take a task and step away from your desk, that would be a great time to go touch base with that coworker. So you can kind of see how I am kind of structuring my day to be most effective and to help me stay on task and to also address the needs of other people and what they're looking to accomplish too.

So then we want to... Let's see here. We also want to be sure to take a break, which I just told you. That's step number six. And then we want to repeat five and six throughout the day. So we want to switch between mono-tasking and our breaks back and forth so that we're operating at peak productivity so that we're not getting distracted so that we are on task all the time. And then towards the end of the day, it will be time to audit your master to-do list and to adjust things and to prepare for the next day. You probably have a good idea at the end of the day what tasks you want to tackle for the next day. So go ahead and write those down, go ahead and get those organized on your list, and then an order that you are planning on attacking those tasks.

I know that things come in, I know that a lot can happen in during the 12 hours that we're away from work. You may have to adjust in the morning when you check your email and see all that's requested of you, you may have to adjust in the morning, but having a good idea of what you are planning to tackle the next day will only set you up for success, will get you on the right frame of mind for the next day. And then you also... I don't know about you guys, but I don't like to walk into a messy office space. So at the end of every day, I do my best to straighten everything up and I'll put things where they need to go, I'll put things in the optimal order, we've got papers that I need to go through the next day, I'll put them in the order that I want to tackle them along with my to-do list. This just makes me feel like I can do what needs to get done the next day, instead of walking into a crazy office that's full of papers and everything's scattered everywhere and then being unsure of where to start to get everything done.

So that is a walkthrough at my peak productivity roadmap. If you haven't already snagged it, please swing by my website. I'll link to where you can download my productivity roadmap. I'm really excited about next week and we'll be going more into other tactics that will help us stay productive and on our game. And we'll actually be talking about four-time management challenges that are specifically unique to us as assistants. So there are things that I don't think any other worker has to deal with, not our boss, not our coworkers, they don't have to deal with, but we do as assistants in terms of how to manage our time more effectively. And so I'll be breaking down four of the most unique time management challenges that we face every day. All right guys, that's all for now. I hope you have a great rest of your week and I will talk with you soon.



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