I love this quote from Peter Berman’s post titled An 18-Minute Plan for Managing Your Day,
Yesterday started with the best of intentions. I walked into my office in the morning with a vague sense of what I wanted to accomplish. Then I sat down, turned on my computer, and checked my email. Two hours later, after fighting several fires, solving other people’s problems, and dealing with whatever happened to be thrown at me through my computer and phone, I could hardly remember what I had set out to accomplish when I first turned on my computer. I’d been ambushed. And I know better.
I’ve lived a number of those days. Bregman is spot on about doing the most important things first. As a person who does not work in a regular office, the need to be self-disciplined is greater and at times harder.
I would also add the following to “ways not to start your day for success”: signing into instant messenger, checking twitter, RSS feeds, blogs, personal email, and the news.
I like Bregman’s idea of “rituals.” It is easy to hear the word “ritual” and think of all its negative connotations: dry, boring, repetitive, thoughtless, or superstitious.
I highly recommend the rest of the article and implementing Bregman’s three steps. They sound simple, but I’ve found them hard to do consistently. The most important ritual of all seems to be the first two or three things I work on first. If I could do a better job there I think a lot of my days would be a lot more productive.