3 Fixes for an Unproductive Week

Another unsatisfying day is turning into an unproductive week. Aren’t you tired of being in this rut?

Sure you are. But finding a fix can prove difficult in the middle of a busy week. Let me show you a few ways to dig yourself out of the rut.

Here are three symptoms of a bad week, and three tips for turning it around:

1) You had a poor plan or no plan – You choose to go through your day without a plan, instead jumping from one pop-up task to another “Whack-a-Mole” style.

 *The Fix: Spend 15 minutes each Sunday and spend 5 minutes each morning with your day planner, preparing a task list and schedule that cover your important activities.

2) You had unrealistic expectations – The to-do list in your planner is too darn big, an “everything but the kitchen sink” list and you fell short because a) there wasn’t enough time, or b) the timing was wrong.

*The Fix: Estimate the time of each task you want to accomplish and compare it to the time slots you see available in your day planner. What doesn’t fit must be delegated or pushed to another day. A successful to-do list gets completely checked off. Strive for this victory each day.

3) You got distracted: Whether it’s a sudden help request from a co-worker or Facebook, all distractions lead you away from what truly needs to get done.

*The Fix: Say “no” to requests, delegate tasks you don’t have time to complete, and stay disciplined to follow your daily priorities. Your plan is a personal commitment, so don’t let yourself down.

 A final word of advice – You expect slow traffic on snowy days, right? So make sure you plan your day for the delays, tangents, and detours life throws at you. Leave time each day for the unexpected and a little extra time for yourself. Give yourself a little breathing room each day.

[photo by Highways Agency]

Day-Timer Spokesperson Jeff Doubek can be reached at jeff.doubek@daytimer.com

9 thoughts on “3 Fixes for an Unproductive Week

  1. I love getting your newsletter…thanks for today’s…I also liked tvdiva’s suggestion about tracking the time spent on different things. I work at home and there are interruptions. I also write fiction, so I need to be focused. When I do the Sunday thing and the daily thing (the night before for me) I can almost always look at the list later and see that I set myself up for a successful day…thanks for the reminder. Now I have to clock my time spent on this…but it can be asterisked as time well spent….

  2. Do you still have a computerised version of the diary system.

    Several years ago I had access to one through your diary pages and was able to type everything into the pages daily and print the pages off on a daily basis. I think I have seen reference to it in one of your brochures but no reference to if the system was available?

    Ron Low

  3. Very good suggestions, especially for procrastinators. People tend to get overwhelmed by their task list. Break it down into smaller tasks and be realistic about the time it takes to complete a task. If you keep a time log for what you do daily, you can use it to show your boss what eats your time. I was able to show mine that four hours of the day are gone to meetings and the accompanying action items and meeting minutes. So I literally have four hours a day to get my job completed.

    I found the best way to help me was to block Instant Messages at work, and not read work emails more than twice a day. I also put the phone on DND if I really need to focus on an important task for the day.

    1. I love the idea of a time log tvdiva… it serves as a great reminder of how you’re using your time and can shake you out of a rut during your day.

      Thanks for the great comment!

  4. I like the way these suggestions are always succinct and to the point. I read them and think, “exactly!” Now, getting into the habit of putting them into practice….!

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