5 Time Management and Productivity Tips
By Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
As was recently pointed out to me, retail dietitians are some of the most productive professionals. It’s likely you get more done in a day than colleagues, partners, and friends. Yet, you crave ideas on how to take your time management and productivity to an even higher level. So here’s your chance to back out, to walk away from this article and say that you are productive enough. Or you can keep reading to see if there’s just one gem in what’s to come next.
Tip #1: Choose wisely when it comes to what to do with your time. While it’s hard to acknowledge, especially as you have a boss and a boss’s boss, what you do with your time is 100 percent within your control. You own what you are doing at any given moment. Choose the top priority instead of the pesky project that you know won’t have real impact. Choose to skip a “nice to attend” not “need to attend” meeting in favor of wrapping up a new project proposal.
Tip #2: Commit to daily priority. Each day, pick one thing (yes just one) that absolutely must be done that day. Log it in a spreadsheet or a notebook. Then just do it. Do this daily priority every day. At the end of a quarter or a year, look back and see all the important things you’ve accomplished.
Tip #3: Write everything down. David Allen is famous for the quote “The mind is for having ideas, not holding them.” One of the reasons you may be less productive than you’d like to be is that you expect your brain to hold all those amazing ideas you have and their prioritization. But the brain isn’t holding them. When you have a great idea, write it down. Once you have a list of great ideas, prioritize them. Use the most important ones as daily priorities.
Tip #4: Block project time on your calendar. I am most creative and more focused in the early morning. For this reason, I hold mornings on my calendar for project time. I specifically put a hold on my calendar for specific projects. I take calls or do less thought-intensive work in the afternoon. Tackling your time in this way prevents you from checking email too often or trying to tackle important projects if half hour segments between calls. Treat this project time as protected time.
Tip #5: Choose a positive mindset. It’s easy at the end of the day to be frustrated with items that you didn’t get crossed off your “to do” list. Instead, focus on all that you did accomplish in the day. Retail is a business that constantly moves and your “to do” list will continually expand. Acknowledging how you move the needle each day will keep you sane and focused on the bigger picture.