Monday, January 31, 2011

The Last Five Minutes of Your Day - BusinessWeek

The Last Five Minutes of Your Day - BusinessWeek

I was reading this article and thought that it should be brought to my own readers' attention (If I have any out there, :-P). The exercise is an easy one, take the last 5 minutes to reflect on your day. The article even provides a grouping of questions for you to think through at the end of your day:

- How did the day go? What successes did I experience? What challenges did I endure?
- What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do - differently or the same tomorrow?
- Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?

Great questions. Some notes from my own thoughts:
1. Find a way to distance yourself from distractions while doing this. Contemplation doesn't work when you are interrupted by someone convinced that his/her hair is on fire! That means turning off your email and cell phone for a couple of minutes and letting a call to your desk go to voicemail.
2. Write it down. Thoughts are great, but ethereal. Think about the last time you woke-up with a killer idea, thinking you would remember when you got up in the morning, only to loose it before daylight. You can remember the excitement, you can remember the need to execute, but you CAN'T remember the CONCEPT! How frustrating is that? In the same regard, your revelations at the end of the day will be just as fleeting if you don't write them down and review them occasionally.

With those two things mentioned, perhaps I should mention something to do during the FIRST 5 minutes of your day:
1. Look over you calendar, and evaluate the goals of the different activities you have going on that day. Write these down and treat them as action items. Almost nothing is a frustrating to me then activities that don't accomplish what they were set to do.
2. Look over your notes from the night before. Does anything need to be addressed today that came up yesterday?
3. Plan out the blocks where you need to do your work. In many cases you will have papers, reports, or other assignments to work on; and the meetings in your calendar only chew up your time in regards to those assignments. Find specific periods during the day to work on those items, rather than just putting together a to do list that you haphazardly jump through.

Again, do this with as few distractions as possible. Don't let anyone interrupt this time with the claim that the sky is falling. And write it all down!

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