Q: How do I manage to stay on top of my to do list and my priorities for the day?
A: Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
For me, morning is my most productive time for writing and accomplishing my list of things to do. Here is what happens when I read my email before I begin work.
1) An hour passes and I am not even sure where it went- I got sidetracked on the latest video, or groupon, or worked on cleaning out my inbox. Maybe I logged on to Facebook to share a quote, and ended up looking at the pictures my daughter posted over the weekend. Not really a good use of my most productive time.
2) I fall into the belief that someone else needs my time more than me, and I follow the email trail to help them solve their issue. I get caught up in someone else’s to do list, and don’t cross anything off my own.
3 )I check my email because I haven’t made a list and I don’t know what my high priorities are. Then I just have an excuse for why I was unproductive. Now I am learning to start or end each day with a list of what comes next and what my priorities are. It is funny how checking my email never makes it to the priority list!
4) I know what my list is but I don’t want to do the hard stuff, so I chicken out and pretend that email is more important. When I do the hard things first and check them off my list, I feel better about myself, and I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Just like any new thing, this takes practice, so I am committed to becoming much more productive on the things that matter, and spend less time on the things that don’t.