Making my desk day productive

3 November 2016


My client schedule is light this week and I had high hopes for getting a lot done. I dusted off my important tasks so they were front and center along the urgent stuff. Yet, the last couple of days got away from me. Part of the problem is my obsession with Hamilton and the distraction of the coming election.

I know that my morning hours tend to be more productive than the afternoon. So last night I determined that I would go to bed earlier than usual so I could get up earlier than usual, thus expanding the morning hours.

Well, it’s worked like a charm. I got up at 5:30 and immediately set to putting together a robust task list, one I truly hope to finish today. I wrote my list in Evernote (in a note with today’s date as the title). Then, I selected the items to get done in the coming hour. This is a technique I learned from time management guru Mark Forster. He calls it The Next Hour of Your Life and it’s been working well for me. At the end of each hour, I create another mini-list, extracting tasks from the main list. Most hours I’ve had a little extra time after I finish the hour’s tasks. Then I take a little break.

It’s 10:45 am. My hour-by-hour list started at 6:45. That first hour, I worked on important tasks that I’d been putting off—ones that have no external deadline. Four hours later, I have checked 15 things off my list. I intend to do another 5 to 10 before noon. Then I can coast this afternoon.

This feels great! It’s not the sheer number of tasks that thrills me; it’s the fact that I started the ball rolling on some important projects that now feel viable.

I think the key to my success today is threefold:

  • I’m working during my peak productivity hours
  • I have a solid list from which to work so that I know what to do next
  • I’m using one-hour chunks to give me mini-deadlines and apply a little urgency

I’ll definitely try this again the next time I have a whole day at my desk. Of course, I can do it when I have smaller chunks of time as well!

ETA: It’s now 2:45 and I’ve crossed all 23 items off my list. I’m calling it a day and taking my dog for a play date. It feels great!

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About Janine

Janine Adams

Hello! I’m Janine Adams — a certified professional organizer based in St. Louis, and the creator of Peace of Mind Organizing®.

I love order, harmony + beauty, but I believe that the way that you feel about yourself and your home is what truly matters.

If you’re ready to de­clutter with a purpose and add more ease to your life, you’ve found the right blog — and you’ve found the right gal.

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