Ultimate guide to productivity: My tip

Cristina Favreau, The Savvy Entrepreneur, has tagged me to participate in The Ultimate Guide to Productivity, started by Ben Yoskovitz of Instigator Blog.  The rules are as follows:

  1. Write a post on your best productivity tips. Challenge yourself by picking your single best productivity tip (although this isn’t a requirement; you can give us more if you want!)
  2. Include links to other people that have written posts, or include their tips in your post with proper attribution.
  3. If you use Technorati Tags then tag your post “ultimate guide to productivity”.
  4. Tag others in your post to spread the meme. Tag as many people as you like!

Other responses are collected in another Instigator Blog post titled A Bonanza of Productivity Tips.  I’d love to read through the other tips before offering my own, just to be sure that I’m not duplicating someone else’s submission, but productivity dictates that I not take the time to do that right now!  Instead, I’ll offer my 3 top tips, in hopes that at least 1 will be new to the mix.

1.  Work for 45 minutes each morning before checking email.  I admit that I do cheat a smidge on this, by checking my BlackBerry before I get started working.  But that allows me to check for any urgent messages without getting caught up in “reading through quickly” and, worse yet, “just taking a second to respond” before I get started working.  I love email and rely on it for both business and personal communication, but it can really suck the time out of my day.

2.  Get up from my desk at least every 90 minutes.  I discovered that a change of scenery and some movement will refresh my energy.  It also keeps me from feeling like I’m 90 years old when I finally do stand up.  I don’t do much — sometimes just a few quick stretches, sometimes a run for water or other necessities — but my mind is always clearer when I sit back down.

3.  Think energy management before time management.  Ok, so I lifted this verbatim from the time management workshop I presented on Friday.  Energy management is critical, because if I don’t make sure to keep my energy up, I can’t make the most effective use of my time, nor can I be maximally productive.  I use what I learned in The Power of Full Engagement to keep my energy up physically, emotionally, and mentally, and I stay connected to the purpose of what I’m doing (which the authors of Full Engagement refer to as “spiritual capacity”) by asking, “For the sake of what am I doing [this]?”  While I am careful to use my time as productively as possible, I do so in the context of managing my energy first.

Rather than tag anyone in particular, I’d like to open this up to others generally.  What are your top productivity tips? Please comment or post on your own blog.  I’m looking forward to learning some new gems!

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