3 Work Rules I Always Follow

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I always enjoy reading about other people's work rules they live by - those little tricks they implement that help them make the most of each week. I've never considered myself to be a particularly productive person, often plagued by pretty intense bouts of procrastination, but over the last year, I've made some changes that have helped a lot. I think it comes down to two main reasons: becoming a mother (and having to be much more scrupulous with my time) and getting an outside office space, which allows me to focus entirely on my job. Here are the three main work rules I follow that have made the biggest impact.

1. Check emails three times a day. With the amount of emails I get each day, I could easily spend the majority of my time simply managing my inbox. And that's what I did for years. But the problem is, if you're always bouncing back and forth between tasks and answering emails the minute they come in, you're not going to be that productive. I'd say to myself, 'I'll just respond to these few emails quickly and then finish what I was doing.' But that process doesn't allow for a very productive day. 

In order to alleviate that need to constantly monitor my emails, I started only reading and answering them three times a day: once in the morning, once at midday and again in the evening before I leave work. I even went as far as closing the tab in my browser so I wasn't tempted to click over, and at first, it was almost like an addiction - it was so hard not to just glimpse at my inbox. It made me feel panicky, like I was missing out on a slew of opportunities or that people would be upset by my slow response. But that wasn't the case. Not only did it help me focus more on the task at hand, it also made the process of reading and answering emails go that much faster because I'm in the singular mindset of being in response-mode. 

2. Take one task at a time. I pride myself on being good at multitasking and can juggle a somewhat impressive list of things all at once (email not withstanding). But the problem with starting and stopping eight different projects is that it takes a while for any one of them to be completely finished. So even though I'm technically capable of balancing several things at once, I've been making an effort to start and finish individual tasks before moving on to anything else. 

As I've mentioned countless times, I love a to-do list and not only do I write out what's required for the day, but  I make sure to also prioritize the top two most important things. That way, it helps me focus on the big stuff when I have the most energy, instead of waiting until the end of the day to handle the most pressing things. By numbering tasks in order of importance, it serves as a reminder to tackle one thing at a time - to completion -  which, ultimately is the most effective use of my time.

3. Meet with someone new each week. This is a trick I learned from a family friend and one that I always look forward to. Each week, I make it a point to meet with someone new - whether it's an acquaintance, a client, or a new friend - for a quick coffee or a leisurely lunch. It's a great networking tool and one that helps expand my circle so that I'm constantly surrounded by new people. It also puts me in a position in which I'm able help out others by making introductions, which is one of my favorite things to do. It's an empowering feeling to be a match maker, of sorts, when it comes to business, and also helps keep me top of mind when an opportunity arises in which I might be a good fit. As G always reminds me, "the squeaky wheel gets the grease."