I read somewhere that when you make a to-do list, you should cross out everything after the third item, as it’s impossible to do it all. OK, maybe I can’t bring myself to cross everything out below point three, but I have learned a lot about designing my day from a whitepaper released by the Nokia Business team last year (@NokiaAtWork).
My secret work weapon is to set my top three objectives for the day – everything under that gets pushed to the day after. I block-book my diary with times dedicated to answering emails or working on that all-important presentation. Any time I need to remember to do something that day that can’t be missed, I pop it in my diary as a chunk of time. Not only do I get a reminder to do it, but no one books me for a meeting at that time (hopefully).
Blocking my day out into these chunks allows me to focus on one task at a time, rather than reacting to endless emails. In addition, I pick up the phone more to talk to people. It’s quicker to get items sorted out and saves on answering the chain of 10 emails that would normally ensue.
When all else fails, I go out for a quick walk, a great remedy for "mind clutter". It gives time to pause and reflect, and usually a great solution or something you almost forgot to do pops back into your head.