I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t wish they could be a bit more productive. Well, this article by Tyler Becker offers some practical, and helpful advice.
I realize its only Thursday, but I thought I would give you a chance to mull over it in preparation for next Monday.
The 5 questions you should ask yourself every Monday morning
“At the beginning of each week, you have the opportunity to start your five-day sprint with positive energy and momentum going forward. Rather than plop yourself down at your desk on Monday and respond to emails, you should kick things off with a more retrospective, self-fulfilling brainstorm session.
Use the first 10 or 15 minutes of your week to reflect on what went well last week, what was unexpected, what could have been better, and how you’ll make this week more productive than the last. While some projects that come up are out of your control, the way that you respond to others and manage your workload is entirely up to you, and by asking the right questions, you will learn new ways to schedule your day and tackle responsibilities each week.
- “Was I productive last week? What came up that I didn’t plan for?”
At the beginning of each week, you should schedule your responsibilities and goals day-by-day, hour-by-hour. You can literally put your work on your calendar to better track your progress and estimate how long each will take. If you do this and are unsuccessful, it will give you a better idea of why things did not work as you planned.
It might be because a colleague asked you to help on a new project that took up half a day. Or, perhaps you under-estimated the amount of time a specific task of yours required. The other possible reason is your productivity, and not focusing on each each block of time on your calendar. Regardless of the reason, thinking about last week’s productivity, and why or why not things got done, will tell you more about how to plan each week.
- “What needs to get done this week in order to reach my goals?”
Identify your weekly responsibilities, both short-term and long-term ones, and plan your week accordingly. If you have daily or weekly responsibilities that are completed consistently, such as measuring weekly website traffic or metrics on your company’s newsletter, add that to your weekly goals. If you are working on projects that span several weeks or months, you should set a goal for the next five days that will help you get closer to the end result.
This is a “swiss cheese” method, or “crawling before you walk” creates bite-sized milestones for your larger tasks. For example, if you need to hire an Account Executive by the end of next quarter, you can establish this week’s goal as, “contact 10 local universities to create job listings for their career center” in order to get you one step closer to making the actual hire. Asking yourself “what needs to get done” does not require a 360-degree approach, but rather, identify the best, first step you can take that will help put the pieces in place to get you closer to the end.
- “What is my role in the organization, and how can I amplify my impact?”
Understanding why you matter within your company, and how your contributions make a difference allows you to clearly see the relationship between you, your work, and the company’s success. Of course, you already know why you’re there, but if you think about it on a micro-level, and why each project you’re working on is an important use of your time, you’ll approach things differently and with a greater responsibility to give 110%.
So much about the day-to-day grind is attitude and mindset, and if you don’t believe your work and role within the business is important, that negative mentality will shine through your work and productivity. You should understand why your work is important, and once you do, it can help you tackle problems in new ways that are exciting, innovative, and truly impactful.
- “Is there something new I can A/B test this week to be more productive?”
A/B testing is one of the easiest ways to learn something new. For example, checking your email at the beginning of the day versus the end of the day, or taking more, shorter breaks versus fewer, longer ones. Testing different things throughout your week might reveal hidden answers to the way you work, allowing you to become a smarter employee or business owner with each experiment you try.
A/B testing on yourself might inspire the rest of the company to implement something you discover from personal experimentation. On Monday, you can think of a project that can be A/B tested, or adjust your schedule to see if you can learn anything new about how you work most efficiently. You might even realize different ways to A/B test with your work, such as sending the same email with different subject lines to determine a better CTR, or reach out to prospective clients with a short and sweet note, compared to a longer one with more, concrete details.
- “Am I truly passionate about my work, and if not, what would get me to that point?”
It’s important for employees to be passionate about their role and the company’s overall mission. Without passion and curiosity, work will suffer and represent the lack of devotion. If you’re not satisfied with your role, think about what it is that you want, and whether or not your department or company even has the potential to meet your needs and wishes.
If you can confidently answer “Yes!” to this question week after week, you know that your work and role is on the right path. You might have some days that get you down, but if you can pick yourself up after those times, and still feel confident and proud of the work you’re doing, it allows you to maintain a clear mind and vision for doing more of what you love, and ultimately becoming a better employee for your organization, and the people you work with.
Mondays are the clean slate that everyone can take advantage of with the right mindset and extra effort of planning. Many employees only brainstorm ideas in a collaborative setting, but Monday morning is one of the few times where internal brainstorming can make you a more productive individual for the rest of the week, and throughout the year.
Perhaps you have other questions to ask yourself too. You can replace one of these five with your own, or add onto this list. Whichever questions you ask yourself, all that matters is that you’re taking the steps to work better, smarter, and make a greater impact.”