I began the habit of a 15-minute triage several years ago, and it’s made a huge impact on my productivity. It’s a great way to start the day … you definitely feel a sense of control and calm as you enter the day … ready to hit the ground running.
What it is:
The 15-Minute Triage is something you do FIRST THING every morning upon arriving at work … before you start any other work for the day.
The Triage involves readying yourself for a super productive day by doing the following THREE THINGS:
- Scan your email looking for anything that is both IMPORTANT and URGENT.
- Mark or Flag the important and urgent emails.
- If any of the important and urgent emails can be dealt with in 2 minutes or less. DO THOSE NOW.
- Block sufficient time on your calendar to process the remainder or add items on your task list to take care of specific emails that require action today or within the next 24 hours.
- Review any “waiting for” emails … Emails that you’ve marked as waiting for someone else to take action (I keep those in a separate folder and review them daily). Determine if any action is necessary today regarding any “waiting for” emails.
2. Task List:
- Review your task list for the day and scan your task list for the next couple of days.
- Adjust your priorities and organize the order of your tasks to focus on the (1) urgent and important first and then (2) the important but not urgent.
- Delegate, defer or delete all other tasks.
- Ensure you have enough “white space” on your calendar to take care of your task list for the day.
- Send emails to confirm upcoming meetings for the day.
- Ensure you have prep time scheduled ahead of each meeting or call.
- Make adjustments as necessary or reschedule appointments as necessary.
Call to Action:
Try the 15-Minute Triage first thing … every work day … for three weeks. At the end of three weeks, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did I feel more “in control” as I entered each day (peaceful anticipation as opposed to anxious anticipation)?
- Did I do a better job of focusing more on the truly important things?
- Did my work day seem to flow smoother?
- What else changed in a positive way?
- Have I convinced myself to develop and maintain the daily habit of a 15-Minute Triage?
- Who else might benefit from this habit?
- When will I tell them about it?
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