Productive womanHaving a bad day? This morning, you thought about the things you wanted to accomplish. You had space on your calendar to get things done. You felt really good about getting these items completed and off your very long to-do list. Then you arrived at work: unexpected meetings, requests by email, voicemail, people stopping you in the hallway, all as clients call demanding attention. Distracted; your plan for a productive day falls by the wayside.

Unfortunately, today’s chaos tends to repeat itself day after day. What can you do to take control of your day? These ten tips can help you change an unproductive day into a productive one.Consider these ideas:

  1. Understand the distinction between effective and efficient. Efficient means completing many tasks right. Effective means doing the right tasks right. What are the right tasks to accomplish your objectives?
  2. List everything on your plate–personal and work related–and ask yourself for each item “What evidence do I have this task is necessary?” Not everything is important or necessary. If it is not, eliminate it!
  3. Take control of your time. Overbooking doesn’t serve anyone. Schedule time for planned work activities, allowing time for unexpected tasks or activities.
  4. List three things you want to accomplish today and schedule time to complete them.
  5. Honor the appointments you schedule with yourself as you honor meetings with others.
  6. Turn off any technology that distracts you from completing work requiring your full attention. Protect and honor this very important ‘think’ time.
  7. Over-committing can lead to mediocre results; therefore volunteer to take on additional projects wisely. Your value is determined by how well you achieve your commitments not by how many things you say yes to.
  8. Look at how you do your work. What isn’t working for you? Determine what routines need to change to become more effective in completing your right tasks. Small changes can lead to big results.
  9. Document agreed to actions whether in a group meeting, one on one via telephone or face to face. It is natural for people to forget or reinterpret agreements if they’re not written.
  10. Under promise and over deliver. If you meet your commitments you’re successful. If you produce faster than expected, you’re a hero!

Take charge of your success. By just utilizing just one of these tips you can gain some control over the chaos in your life and work. The more tips you utilize, the more control you have. Have fun with it!

Submitted by Chris Sier, Executive/Leadership Coach (

Chris is on a mission to help people gain control of their work lives, be creative, and explore their unique potential. With so much on everyone’s plate, the challenge is to find a way to choose the right things, instead of trying to complete everything. Her booklet, “100+ Tips:  Taking the Busyness Out of Business:  Doing the Right Things, Not Everything!” gives you tips on ways to choose the right things. See how it can help you gain control over your work and personal life.

dealingIf you liked these writing tips you may be interested in the Get a Plan! Guide® for Dealing with and Deflecting Distractions part of the Get a Plan! Guides® series designed so that so that you can accomplish your goals more smoothly, i.e., peacefully, productively, and predictably.