How often do you reach the end of the day feeling unproductive? Even worse, your to-do list just gets longer.
Inbox notifications and coworker appeals for collaboration interrupt our thinking and productive time. that comes to you needing help right now are a few of the most common daily interruptions. These external elements will control how your day unfolds if you let them.
One solution to try is timeboxing. In general, timeboxing means you schedule your work ahead of time and set a limit on how much time you will spend on one activity.
In Intent-Based Leadership, we talk about two kinds of work. Redwork consists of focusing, performing, and the doing part of work. Bluework is the creative, collaborative, and thinking part of work. Brainstorming, problem solving, and designing are all Bluework whereas data entry, physical labor, and routine work are Redwork. Too much Bluework can lead to mental exhaustion, burnout, and a sense that progress has not been made. Too much Redwork leads to boredom and lack of engagement.
See this nudge about redwork and bluework. Leadership Nudge® 290 – Redwork, Bluework
Each job task will have a different balance between Redwork and Bluework. Timeboxing your type of work will make it easier to transition between thinking and doing, giving you a better sense of control over your day. You should be deciding how and when you do something because autonomy is key to happiness at work.
Further reading https://hbr.org/2012/01/to-do-lists-dont-work