Many of us have come home after work and have made a simple pronouncement: “I really had a productive day.” Or sometimes: “Wow, it feels like I got nothing done.” What’s the difference?
It might seem like the answer to this question would be a complex mix of productivity techniques, time management tactics and business jargon. But really, there’s a simple, two-part test to figure out if you are going to have a productive day:
- Did you start with clearly defined, reasonable objectives for the day?
- Did you keep focused on finishing those tasks?
That’s it. If you start the day by deciding what you want to accomplish, and confirming that your goal is actually feasible, you’re halfway there. Then all you need to merely do is the work, and when you head home you’ll probably feel pretty fantastic.
The challenge to setting goals and meeting goals is in the details. Sometimes we establish a priority without really knowing how long it will take. Furthermore, our time is not our own. Interruptions will undoubtedly occur. You must answer the phone, you must check email, and it’s hard to ignore the colleague standing at your cubicle talking about last night’s big game.
In order to have more days where you feel productive, try to build these habits into your process. Write down your goals. Confirm they are reasonable. Check them off as they are completed. You’ll feel better and be more productive!