Imperfect Productivity Planning (IPP) - The Dash
I find that I accomplish a lot more when I take time every morning to lay out what I want to accomplish that day, and focus on each task for short consecutive dashes, separated by planned breaks. It's human nature to allow tasks to fill up any time we set for them, allowing procrastination, mind wandering, and distractions to cause a task to take much longer than necessary. By setting specific attainable goals and working towards them in short dashes, we can accomplish much more in a shorter amount of time.
Once a week, set, revisit, and revise your personal and professional goals: long term, medium, and short term. Are your daily activities in line with your current goals. Do either your goals or your time expenditures need to be adjusted to bring them into greater harmony?
Spend 15 minutes every morning reviewing your current task progress and what needs to be done in the next 24 hours, as well as how and when you plan to accomplish those tasks. Prioritize by importance or order in which they need to be done.
Set your goal for a 45 minute focused dash. Ignore anything short of emergencies during this time. Focus on working towards your goal, but not necessarily completing it during this time. Unless you are meeting an impending deadline, you can use another dash to continue or complete the task. But you do want to use the time to get as much accomplished towards your goal as possible.
Take a 15 minute break to move your legs; get water; use the restroom; return calls, emails, and texts; attend to anything or anyone else you neglected during your dash; and take a breather.
Rinse and Repeat
Review what you accomplished during your dash, and either switch gears into something else, or continue the work of the previous dash. Keep setting dashes and breaks throughout the day.
Daily Close Out
Set a reminder on your phone, watch, or computer to alert you 15 minutes before your work shift ends every day. Use the time to fill out time cards, clean up your computer and work space, and review the days finished and unfinished tasks. Make notes for what needs to be attended to tomorrow.