Gina Trapani, former editor of Lifehacker who now runs the inspiring and informative website Smarterware.org, has compiled a list of strategies for the Harvard Business blog on “How to Mitigate the Urgent to Focus on the Important.” She discusses how if a concerted effort isn’t made to set aside time for big-picture items in your day that they easily can be pushed aside by sudden requests and demands.
To realign your work day, she offers three concrete plans of action. My favorite:
Set up a weekly 20-minute meeting with yourself. Put it on your calendar, and don’t book over it — treat it with the same respect you’d treat a meeting with your boss. If you don’t have an office door or you work in an open area that’s constantly busy, book a conference room for your meeting. Go there to be alone. Bring your project list, to-do list, and calendar, and spend the time reviewing what you finished that past week, and what you want to get done the following week. This is a great time to choose your daily three important tasks. Productivity author David Allen refers to this as the “weekly review,” and it’s one of the most effective ways to be mindful about how you’re spending your time.
Do you make time on your schedule for focused planning on big-picture projects, free of interruptions? What would you need to do to schedule a 20-minute meeting with yourself? How could it impact your work?