There are many career skills for success. These six simple skills save time, increase productivity, and reduce stress.
Clean up as you go along.
This is such a simple skill, which makes everything else much simpler. If I have an empty coffee cup on my desk, I can easily take it with me when I walk to the kitchen. When I come in at night, I can hang my clothes as I take them off. There is little effort required to put clothes on a hangar when I already have them in my hand.
Act the first time you think of something.
I can’t always act when I first think of something. But often I can. I have found that when I act on the first impulse I can complete many small tasks as I go through the workday. Just recognizing that acting on that impulse can get me into action helps me get many small tasks out of the way.
Don’t use procrastination lists.
The difference between a procrastination list and a to-do list is the reality of a deadline. If I am just putting something off, I have a procrastination list. If I have something to do that has a deadline, I put it on my to-do list.
Break things down into smaller tasks.
I have been editing a book for about a year now. Much of the work is repetitious. I am going back over material that I have written and rewritten. The job is boring. I have found, however, that I can work on a couple of pages a day and over time have made excellent progress in completing this tedious task of finalizing the book.
Get dressed two hours before it is time to leave.
There is so much stress in watching the clock while I get dressed. I hate the feeling of panic that I am running late. There are times when I have other tasks to complete before I get dressed. But more likely than not, I am just putting off getting dressed until it is nearly time to leave.
Arrive early for airline flights and medical appointments.
When taking flights, I can relax at home before leaving for the airport or I can arrive early and relax at the airport. Relaxing at home and having the stress of scrambling through flight check-in has become too painful. I have found that it is helpful to find out what time I need to be at the airport and then add a half hour to that arrival time. At the doctor’s office, I find that they take me in early when I arrive early. One of my doctors has a late-arrival fee for patients who come in after the appointment time. I can avoid that expense and reduce my stress by arriving early.
With a laptop and smartphone, I never waste time no matter where I go. The question is whether I want to relax before I go or relax before the appointment.
Image: Jay Wren