When the bigger picture clouds your daily to-dos, lean on these top tips for laser-like focus.
The Astute Architect sees the sculpture in the stone before it’s carved — thinking big is your specialty, and you inspire everyone around you with your grand ambition. You’ve got the skills of a pro list-maker, but sometimes you only see the forest, not the trees. We’re here to help with some tips that a leader like you can use to help tackle the mountain of minutiae that can build up on the daily — tips that can help those who tend to linger on the long-term become better at their short-term planning game. Let’s get to it!
Delegation and collaboration are the keys to achieving ambitious goals. Create a list of tasks to outsource!
As a big thinker, sometimes it can be tough to lay out all the little steps necessary to meet an ambitious goal. Getting better at collaborating and delegating is key — and that’s where an outsource list can come in handy. Simply determine which tasks you can give to someone else, and put them all together in one list. Training someone else will take more time upfront, but it’ll save time later, giving you the chance to focus on the tasks that only you can do. When you put your outsource list on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in., you can keep it wherever you need it, so that when the opportunity comes to delegate, you’re ready to act.
Pin down your most important tasks using the 1-3-5 rule.
If you ever have trouble focusing on bigger and smaller tasks throughout the day, the 1-3-5 rule can help get you in the habit of accomplishing more. On any given day, plan to accomplish one big task, three medium tasks and five small tasks, and make your list on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in. Since you can stick your list wherever you’re most likely to see it, it’ll help keep you focused on your nine items, and keep you from getting overwhelmed by what might be lurking on older lists. When you can only choose from what’s important, you’ll always get the important things done.
If you excel at procrastinating, the 2-minute rule is a simple and effective way to jumpstart your productivity.
No one is fully immune to procrastination — but you can lean on the 2-minute rule to kick-start your productivity. The 2-minute rule makes it so easy to start taking action that you can’t say no. It’s simple.
With any task you have, ask yourself one question:
Will it take less than 2 minutes? If the answer’s yes, do it right now.
To get started, go through your to-do list and mark each 2-minute task with a Post-it® Flag for quick reference, and then start knocking them out. Can all of your goals be accomplished in less than two minutes? Of course not. But when you get your 2-minute tasks done, you can focus on the ones that need more time without getting distracted.
Break down your tasks into simple action steps.
Every to-do list has those perennial repeats — things we intend to do but never actually get done. If you have something like "do yoga" on your to-do list and you’ve never done yoga, you're going to have a much harder time tackling that task than if you break it into simple action steps. So, grab your Post-it® Super Sticky List Notes, 4 in. x 6 in., and make a list of actions that are embarrassingly simple: do a Google search for nearby yoga studios, sign up with the studio online, buy a yoga mat and go to class on Monday at 6 p.m. It might seem silly, but the simplest step to get you moving forward should be the first thing on your list.
Make your to-do list the night before and hit the ground running the next morning.
Sometimes, getting organized enough to make a list first thing in the morning can seem daunting. So give this a shot — at the end of the day, write the six most important tasks you need to do the next day on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in., numbering them by priority, and leave it stuck somewhere where you’ll be sure to see it in the morning. The next day, your night-before list will be ready to tackle the day alongside of you, one task at a time. At the end of the day, move anything you’ve left undone to the top of tomorrow’s list. Try it for a few days, and watch your productivity soar.
Get into the habit of tackling your first task first thing in the morning.
In the spirit of this tip, let’s just jump right in: tackle the first item on your list first thing in the morning when you're fresh! To kick-start your day, you need to get the biggest, most important task completed before moving on. It’s important to be proactive rather than reactive, and means starting with your most important action first — before you check your email, read headlines or respond to phone calls. Make your to-do list on a Post-it® Super Sticky List Note, 4 in. x 6 in. and mark the item you’re going to do first with a Post-it® Flag. By keeping yourself accountable with a visible list and a clear first step, you’ll get your number one priority done every time — and you’ll never go back.
There you have it — six great tips that will set you up for daily success, while still letting you do what you’re good at: seeing the big picture and being inspired by long-term goals.