So I just finished reading John C. Maxwell's book, "Developing the Leader Within You" and one of my key takeaways was this list of his "Top Ten" on Page 167. Whenever I have takeaways from the personal development I'm currently reading or listening to, I like to share it with my team.
And today, I'd also like to share it with you in the hopes that it will help in any small way! The ten points are directly from John's list, but I've rewritten most of the descriptions to apply to a more modern lifestyle.
1. Set your priorities.
“Two things are difficult to get people to do. The first is to do things in order of importance, and the second is to continue doing thing in the order of importance. William Gladstone said, “He is a wise man who wasted no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he is wiser still who from among the things he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.” – John C. Maxwell
2. Place Your Priorities in Your Calendar.
Once this list is written out on paper, you will be much more likely to follow it and it will also give you accountability to staying on track.
3. Allow a Little Time For the Unexpected.
The kinds of work you do will determine the amount of time you set aside for interruptions. For example, the more you interact with people, the more time you must set aside. I try to set aside one half day each week to “catch up” with work related projects, meet with my team or clients or finish up any “last minute” details. Allowing time for the unexpected leaves your schedule much less stressful because hey, life happens.
4. Do Projects One at a Time.
A good general fights only on one front at a time. That is also true of a good leader. A feeling of being overwhelmed is the result of too many projects clamoring for your attention. For years I have followed this simple process:
Itemize all that needs to be done. Prioritize things in order of importance. Organize each project. Emphasize only one project at a time.
John C. Maxwell
5. Organize Your Work Space.
My workspace is organized in two places: administrative and creative. My administrative “office” is my kitchen table. Yes, you read correctly. At the moment, I don’t have an office space where I feel as comfortable, so my kitchen table by the window will suffice. I have my computer, notebooks, journals, a cork board with my calendar, monthly goals and vision board. It is a great space for me to get shit done. My other workspace is my creative space, and that is the couch. This is where I read, edit photos, create templates for trainings, and sometimes write. By having the option of switching between the two spaces (that are kept in an organized and tidy manner by the way), I am able to be more productive than I would be otherwise. Make due with what you have.
6. Work According to Your Temperament.
If you are a morning person, organize your most important work for the morning hours. Obviously, if you are a late starter, do the opposite. However, be sure NOT to allow the weaknesses of your temperament to excuse you from what you know you need to do to work most effectively.For example, I am definitely a morning person. I’m more likely to be at my best creatively, my focus is more intense and I find it easy to get more done in less time. But if I leave the load of my work for the afternoon, I am tired, distracted and start making excuses for myself. Whether I am able to work in the morning or it has to be in the afternoon, I know that if I set a timer, grab a cup of coffee and buckle down, I can get what I need to achieve done.
7. Use Your Driving Time for Light Work and Growth.
“I estimate that the average person could achieve eight additional hours of personal growth and work in each week by using driving time wisely.” – John C. MaxwellWhat are you listening to while driving? The radio? An old CD? Why not push play on a meaningful podcast so you can fill your brain with positivity and learn while you drive? The average person spends WAY too much time in a car (on a bus or other commute) and the majority of people do not take advantage of this prime learning time. If you are not the one driving, bring a book along, pop some headphones in and listen to an audio book. Whatever it is that suits your fancy, using your driving time for light work and growth is an excellent use of time and I’ve found, actually increases my pleasure of driving places!
8. Develop Systems That Work for You.
Bobb Biehl says, “Systems – from to-do lists and calendars to libraries and computers – are your servants. They help you do things better and quicker, and by improving them, you decrease your time expenses and increase your results.” Don’t fight systems. Improve them. Your life will be better for it.
9. Always Have a Plan for Those minutes Between Meetings.
“Hours can be saved by making the best use of minutes. I keep a list of things to do that can be done anywhere in very short amounts of time. There are calls to make, memos to reply to or send, reports to scan, thank-you notes to write, and communication to share. Keep handy a list of things you can do in a short time.” - John C. Maxwell
10. Focus on Results, Not the Activity.
There is a difference between doing things right and doing the right things. “As you spend time on personal organization, be sure to keep your focus on doing the right things, that is, doing what is truly important. Then use this rule of thumb for organizing your overall work strategy:
Work where you are the strongest 80 percent of the time. Work where you are learning 15 percent of the time. Work where you are weak 5 percent of the time.
Apply these 10 habits to your daily routine and you will certainly become more organized and self-sufficient.