Here is a list of ideas to help you focus and make the most of the rest of your week:

Determine your essential tasks for the rest of the week. Think about essential tasks as things that if left undone will get you fired, cost you a key client, cause you to lose credibility with your peers, or make you look incompetent.

Create a “CYA” process outline for the most critical tasks. Begin by writing down the critical tasks and the actions required to complete each task. For example, if you have to finish a client proposal by Friday at 4:00 p.m., outline where you are now in the process, what else needs to be done, and whom else you might need to involve to help complete the task. Once that is done, determine if there are tasks you can delegate or perhaps eliminate.  Distribute assignments to others (if you are delegating) and communicate the assignments and deadlines for each task. I find it helpful to post my deadlines on my calendar, just as if they were appointments. Put your CYA process outline where you can see it until the task in completed.  I use a whiteboard placed on the wall in front of my desk.

Start working your plan immediately. Most of us tend to analyze, scrutinize, and talk about what needs to get done. JUST DO IT.

Shut your door, forward your phone, and close your e-mail.  Distractions are at every turn. Put tape over your message light, and put a sign on your door that nicely states, “I’m tied up, so please come back later or shoot me an e-mail, and I will get back with you after 3:00 p.m.” Let your assistant know that you do not want to be disturbed.  Your assistant should be your teammate in getting things done.  Utilize your team.  Turn off the ping on your e-mail and close it so that it is out of view. Then, set a timer (I use a kitchen timer) and challenge yourself to work only on the critical task for 45 minutes. If you use your process outline and push yourself, you will get a lot accomplished. Repeat this exercise with 20-minute breaks until your tasks are complete.

If 45 minutes seems too long, try 30 minutes. The point is to get yourself focused and get things done.

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