The hallmark of successful time management is being consistently productive each day. Many people use a daily plan to motivate themselves. Having a daily plan and committing to it can help your team stay focused on the priorities of that particular day. They are also more likely to get things accomplished if they write down their plans for the day.
Creating a Productivity Journal
Essentially, planning is nothing more than taking a piece of paper and a pen and writing down the tasks and associated steps that the team needs to take throughout the day to ensure that the goal is completed.
To start, get a spiral notebook and label it as the Team Productivity Journal. Label each page with the day and the date and what needs to be done that particular day. Next, prioritize each task in order of importance. Highlight the top three items and focus on those first. Cross off items as the team completes them. Items that are not completed should be carried over to the next page.
Maximizing the Power of the Team Productivity Journal
By planning the afternoon before, the team will start fresh and focused on the most important tasks for the day. Of course, the team will want to review their list in the morning, but they will have a head start on the day.
The team should keep the productivity journal with them during the day to avoid becoming sidetracked. Crossing off completed tasks will give their subconscious mind a tremendous amount of satisfaction. This will also help to maintain their motivation to complete the remaining items on the action list.
If the team finds that are moving uncompleted tasks over into the following day, and the day after that, then they need to ask themselves why that task is on the list in the first place and what value it has for the team. If they postpone a task three times, it does not belong on the action list.
The Glass Jar: Rocks, Pebbles, Sand, and Water
There is a story about time management that uses a glass jar, rocks, stones, pebbles, sand, and water to illustrate how to plan your day. The glass jar represents the time the team has each day, and each item that goes into it represents an activity with a priority relative to its size.
Rocks: The general idea is to fill the glass jar first with rocks. Plan each day around the most important tasks that will propel the team toward achieving their goals. These represent the team’s highest priority projects and deadlines with the greatest value, often important, but not urgent tasks that move the team toward their goals.
Pebbles: Next, fill in the space between the rocks with pebbles. These represent tasks that are urgent, and important, but contribute less to important goals. Without proper planning, these tasks are often unexpected, and left unmanaged, can quickly fill the day. Working to reduce these tasks will give the team more time to work toward their goals.
Sand: Now add sand to fill the jar. In other words, schedule urgent, but not important tasks, only after important tasks. These activities are usually routine or maintenance tasks that do not directly contribute to the team goals.
Water: Finally, pour water into your jar. These trivial time-wasters are neither important nor urgent and take you away from working toward high return activities and goals.
If the team commits to this approach to planning their days, they will see as time goes on that they are able to achieve more in less time. Instead of finishing things in a mad rush to meet deadlines, each day will be organized and become more productive and profitable. They will also notice that they are spending less time on activities that are of little to no value. And because they have a clear vision for dealing with competing priorities, the level of stress in the team will diminish, which will allow them to become even more focused and productive.