Pat and I interviewed Pierre Khawand early this morning, and while we got plenty out of the interview – so much so we need to invite him back, soon – the most valuable productivity advise for me was how to win at the Monday Whack-a-Mole game.
You know how this game is played – and lost – every Monday, right? You start work all rejuvenized and revitalized after the weekend, ready tackle that big strategic project you’ve been avoiding. So you get 20 minutes into it, studiously avoiding email, doing all right thing productivity things. No more Mr. Frenzic – you are going to be productive!
Then, the first mole pops its head up – maybe it’s an urgent client task, remembering you forgot to do something, a phone call. You stop being productive and focused, whack the problem, and gamely try to get back into your warm productive flow, only to have another mole head pop up. And another. And another, another, another, whack, whack whack.
Oh shit, it’s already lunchtime and none of my important stuff is done.
Pierre’s advice is simple – spend the time and attention to define what you really want/need to get done in the next two weeks, set deadlines for those priorities, break those priorities into specific tasks, figure out what the immediate first action is for at least the first task and how long it will take you. Then actually schedule appointments for each of those immediate actions, at least over next couple of days.
If you can’t schedule it, how are you going to get it done? And the sooner you admit to yourself something has to give, the sooner by managing expectations (including your own) or negotiating deadlines can get back to reality.
He details this in his chapter on creating an Immediate Priorities Matrix: well worth the few bucks his book, Accomplishing More with Less, costs, plus the value in the rest of the book. After our interview, that’s what I did: making the adjustments that brought productivity for me out of the Twilight Zone and into my very real Monday morning.
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