Yesterday, I noticed an article that has been taped to our refrigerator for years. It’s been there so long, I’ve forgotten to take notice of it. It’s called “Stay Ahead of the Curve” and it was from Investor Business Daily’s 10 Secrets to Success. It’s so old that’s it’s turning brown and I cannot find it on the internet. If I could, I would repost the entire article.
My husband wanted to pass on advice to our two kids while they were younger and in middle school and high school. He thought this article about being organized and getting ahead could help them with their school work and busy schedules. Although the article focuses on the workplace, it applies to school or home as well. I wouldn’t have noticed it yesterday if not for the fact that we got delivery of a new fridge and it was time for the old one with the article on it to go.
Following are excerpts from the article written by Cord Cooper with advice from productivity trainer Kenneth Ziegler, author of “Organizing for Success:”
Forget working late at night
It saps your energy and can cause you to be less productive the next day. You go to bed with your mind racing—recounting the day’s events and planning the next and are less likely to get a restful sleep, surveys show.
Your best bet: Arrive early and be on time. This not only boosts productivity, but can also help achieve work-life balance.
To maximize productivity during the day, limit the length and number of meetings if possible. Also set aside time when you can’t be interrupted.
Make the most of Monday morning
“Get off to a fast start Monday, and chances are the rest of the week will flow better,” Ziegler said. “Don’t schedule meetings or conferences first thing on Monday morning. They will kill everyone’s productivity.” Instead. set the following week’s agenda during a Friday staff meeting, ensuring everyone hits the ground running Monday.
At home, start the night before
“Select what you’re going to wear tomorrow and iron it ahead of time (if needed). If you have children, prepare and pack their lunches that night. Set the timer on the coffeepot and put items you are taking to work by the door.” And fill the gas tank on the way home from work, not the next morning, Ziegler advises.
“Studies show that the average person can (realistically) plan up to 50% of his day. We tend to underestimate on average, by (at least) 20 percent of the time a task will take,” Ziegler said. We also don’t allow for interruptions and unforeseen events. We then waste time fiddling with our daily planners.
Nail down specifics
If your boss or client needs a job done as soon as possible, define what that means and when. You probably have several tasks, and getting more information on each will help you plan effectively.
I found these helpful and I wished I would have glanced at the article more than once in the past decade. I’m not sure my kids paid much attention to it, but it was right in front of them every time they reached in the fridge for a snack. I just talked with my son on the phone and asked him if he remembered the article. I’m pleased to say he did and he said he always gets ready for work, the night before.
What do you have taped to your refrigerator and what tips do you have to stay ahead of the curve?