Andy tagged me on this one, and I know I’ve got to catch up on my tag-memes…
If you ask anyone that knows me, they’ll tell you that I’m a creature of habit.
Check the metrics. I’m a huge fan of metrics, because they tell me where I need to put my energy to get the results I want. And my metrics change depending on what I’m trying to track. Right now, I’m tracking the number of page views on my websites, the number of books I sell each week, the number of people I speak with about hiring my marketing company for projects, and the number of times I get to the gym. You get what you measure, so start measuring what you want to get.
Prioritize my tasks. While I love the idea of Getting Things Done, I still find it important to single out 3-5 tasks that have to get done each day. I’m old-school Franklin Covey that way, and I get lost by lunchtime if I haven’t mapped out my tasks with A1, A2, B1, B2, C1 next to them. I structure my day by figuring out what has to happen for me to clear all of the “A” tasks first.
Write everything down. I find that there’s a tremendous connection between the hand and the brain. The act of writing something down triggers a part of my brain that really helps it register. Lori can vouch for this — if I don’t write it down, it doesn’t happen. I think it’s my brain’s defense mechanism against carrying too many ideas around in my head at once. It’s also a practice that has helped me resolve more than one dispute over the last twenty years.
Get out of the office. This was probably more important when I worked from home than it is now, because back then I really craved live human interaction during the workday. However, I have a threshold of about four hours — if I stay in one place longer than that, I hit a creative point of diminishing returns. So I make sure to plan side trips at least once or twice a day to get myself staring at different surroundings. It’s why I almost never eat lunch at my desk.
Check the feeds. It’s a curse, I suppose, of starting my career in radio newsrooms with AP wires. There’s a part of me that’s always wondering if I’m missing some juicy scoop or piece of news. Fortunately, my job requires me to stay connected to what’s going on in a lot of fields. Google Reader is like a nicotine patch for my addiction. I can keep all my feeds rolling in there, and check it three times a day instead of succumbing to the temptation of endless internet surfing.
(This is #6, but it’s similar to Andy’s, so I count it as a bonus.) Family time. Like Andy, I make sure I keep time each day and each week to spend with Lori. When I was getting my business off the ground, I didn’t do such a good job of this. So it’s even more important now.0