Do you feel like you’re forgetting something? Maybe you’re a little worried about what’s coming up next? You can take the fear out of the future with this one simple meeting.
We all want to feel confident that we’re working on the right things. But we live in a noisy world with distractions that interfere on a regular basis. That’s why it’s so important to schedule a weekly review.
A weekly review is time set aside just for you and nobody else. It’s a real meeting to review all your projects and make sure you’re focusing on your most important tasks.
How long should I spend?
I recommend blocking off a full hour for your weekly review. Fridays tend to be a great day to schedule this type of meeting. It allows you to put the past few days in perspective and help you get set for the coming week.
Of course, one of the biggest challenges is keeping this meeting on your calendar. It can be tempting to move it around or cancel it all together. Especially since you’re the only one invited.
But don’t give into ignoring this special time just for you. This is your opportunity to put everything else on pause and make sure your working towards your important goals.
What should I include in my Weekly Review?
It’s vital that you make the most out of this time. So be sure to have a game plan and stick to it. Here is my formula for an effective weekly review:
1. Review Your Past
Start by opening up your calendar and taking a look at the past seven days. Take a moment to review every single meeting or event you attended in the last week. As you review each past commitment, look for things you may have missed such as a follow-up call or sending out agenda minutes.
As I go through this process each week, there is always at least one meeting where I discover an extra task. It’s usually not something major, but it’s an extra activity that brings real value to my relationships and the projects I’m working on.
2. Be in the Present
This is your opportunity to review all your projects, goals, and other commitments. Whether you use Trello, Asana, or just a whiteboard, this is your chance to take a closer look at your deliverables.
Ask yourself some key questions such as: What is my number 1 priority right now? Which project have I been ignoring? Are there any deadlines I need to renegotiate?
This is your chance to take a step back and view your projects from a higher vantage point. Be honest with yourself so you can perform at your very best in the coming week.
3. Look Forward to the Future
With the past and present behind us, it’s time to look towards the future. Once again, it’s time to take out your calendar and review what’s coming up next.
Just like we did when we reviewed the past, I recommend looking at every single commitment for the next 2 weeks. The last thing you want is to be caught off guard or be surprised when you get into the office Monday morning.
Take this opportunity to make sure you’re not double-booked for a meeting. Ensure that you’ve allocated enough time to prepare for that important presentation. Or make a note to send your team an extra reminder about the client meeting next Thursday.
Question: What will you include in your Weekly Review? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Sending effective email starts with being specific. And before you even get to the subject line, you should pick your recipients carefully. In this video, I show you why you should limit your emails to just 3 people. I also share the dangers of sending long subject lines.
You can waste an awful lot of time asking the same question via email. Day after day you send a lot of messages with the hope that you’ll get a response. So how can you increase your chances of getting a reply?
There are a few simple things you can do to improve your odds. For one, make sure your subject line is short and specific. Research shows that you should aim for 6 words or less. Keeping your subject short makes it easier on the reader. It also ensures that the recipient can read the entire line on a mobile device.
It’s also a good guideline to keep your messages short (but not too short). Emails with less than 50 words may not communicate the question well or just not seem important to the reader. But requests that go beyond 250 words will often get skimmed or ignored all together.
There is Power in Your Sign-Off
Most of us end our emails with a regular closing phrase. It only takes a couple of words, but the very last things you write might just have a powerful affect.
Earlier this year, Boomerang analyzed over 350,000 emails to see which sign-off had the very best response rate. And the results may surprise you. In fact, you might never look at your email sign-off the same way again.
Here are the top 2 email closers for getting a response and 1 you should stop using right away:
The Worst: “Best”
First, let’s start with the sign-off which had the worst response rate. Many common sign-offs were analyzed including “Cheers” and “Regards”. But among the group, “Best” actually performed the worst.
It could be that this closing comes across as insincere or perhaps unrelated to the message. Regardless of the reason, if you want a response to your email, you should avoid “Best” as your closer.
It looks like gratitude can be a powerful force when asking something of others. Hopefully this doesn’t come as a surprise. “Thanks” performed very well with a response rate of 63% (compared to “Best” at 51%).
In fact, sign-offs with any expression of gratitude showed much higher response rates than others. It seems that being thankful (no matter what you are asking) will improve your chances of getting an email reply.
The Winner: “Thanks in advance”
We’ve just seen the power of the word “Thanks” when closing an email request. But don’t stop there! If appropriate, be sure to add “in advance” to your sign-off.
“Thanks in advance” performed better than any other closing looked at in the study. With a response rate of 66%, you should consider using this sign-off as your standard.
It makes sense why this closing has such positive results. Within it, you are giving advance thanks for a reply which has yet to be written. This certainly has a powerful effect on readers as many feel obliged to respond after reading these last words.
So don’t take your sign-off lightly. When making an email request, show gratitude to increase your odds of getting a response the first time around.
Question: What email sign-off works the best for you? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Asana is a fantastic productivity app for managing your tasks, projects, and even teams. In this video, I show you my top 5 tips for working with Asana. From moving groups of tasks around to syncing with your calendar, get ready to get more done.
Question: What is your favorite Asana tip? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Once in a while it can feel as if we have no limitations. With easy access to technology and so many communication tools, it’s as if there are no limits to what we can do. But I think certain limitations can actually help us to be more productive.
To better explain this concept, it was my pleasure to provide a guest post for Carl Pullein’s YouTube channel. Carl has recently started a new series called Working With Productivity. And in this week’s episode, I talk about how self-imposed limitations can help us to be more effective.
Question: What limitations are helping you? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Todoist is one of the best task managers available. And few people know this tool better than productivity expert Francesco D'Alessio. In this video, he shows you 5 of his favorite hacks for getting the most out of this to-do list app.
Question: What is your favorite Todoist tip? Leave your answer in the comments below.
How often have you eaten poorly in order to save time? Probably more than you’d like to admit. But if you want to perform at your very best, you can’t afford to ignore your diet.
To work at peak productivity, we need to provide our bodies with the best fuel. Without the best fuel, we often fail without even knowing it. It becomes so much easier for us to make mistakes and give in to other temptations (i.e procrastination).
So instead of making drastic changes to your diet, start with these simple suggestions. Here are 3 easy ways to increase your personal energy:
1. Eat Protein in the Morning
It’s important to start the day of right. And nothing should be a bigger priority than a healthy breakfast. But even if you enjoy fresh fruit, whole grains, and low-fat dairy, you still might be lacking in energy.
Most nutritionists recommend eating 25 to 30 grams of protein as a part of your morning meal. It’s because protein directly affects our brain performance. Our brains need all those amino acids (provided by the protein) since they help our minds to fire on all cylinders.
Foods like eggs, beans, nuts, and lean-meats are full of protein to help you start your day. And you can also drink protein shakes to change up your breakfast menu.
2. Make Green Your Favorite Color
According to Kermit the frog, it’s not easy being green. But dark green vegetables contain some of the highest concentration of vitamins and minerals. Two things you need to sustain your energy levels throughout the day.
Spinach, broccoli, and asparagus are great foods to complement almost any meal. Kale might be the single best thing you can eat. It's full of great vitamins including A, C and K. But I can understand if you’re not the biggest fan of this leafy green.
We all have different likes and dislikes when it comes to food. So be sure to experiment with which greens work for you. Add celery, zucchini, cabbage, or bok choy to your shopping list and your body will thank you later.
3. Take a Caffeine Break
Most of us have a habit of starting our day of with caffeine. And while our morning coffee will give us a spike of energy very quickly, what goes up must come down. As a result, we can easily abuse this drug which can lead to many negative health effects.
Quitting caffeine all at once can be a very difficult task to accomplish. But for you to enjoy sustained energy and focus, try reducing your caffeine intake. You might be surprised at how much more energy you have at the end of your day.
And no matter what you put into your body, be sure to be familiar with your labels. There is no shortage of energy drinks on the market. Discovering how much caffeine and other chemicals are included in a single serving just might shock you (and not in a good way)!
Question: What foods help you to work at your productive best? Leave your answer in the comments below.
Most to-do list apps do a poor job of integrating with your schedule. Even if they do show your calendar, you probably have to view it on a separate screen. Here's how you can turn your calendar app into the ultimate productivity tool.
Today’s workplace is more noisy and distracting than ever before. If you want to get ahead and produce great outcomes, you need to create some quiet time. But that’s often harder than it sounds.
More and more of us work in an open office environment. That means privacy is at a premium. There is often nothing more than a computer screen to separate you from other people. In fact, being able to reach out and touch someone without standing up is becoming the norm.
With all these distractions and interactions, it can be challenging to focus on your work. Just sitting in a high traffic area (lots of people walking by you) can be very damaging to your productivity.
So how can you thrive while working in such a distracting environment?
Here are 4 suggestions to help you stay on track:
1. Put on Your Headphones
You might be surprised at how powerful wearing a pair of headphones or earbuds can be. Many people will avoid interrupting you and come back at a later time. And if you really want to up your need for privacy, wear your phone’s headset once and a while. No one has to know that you’re not actually on a call!
2. Find a Private Room for Short Periods
Most offices have several meeting rooms for employees to collaborate with others. But this doesn’t mean that you have to use them with someone else. Book a small meeting room for 1-2 hours at a time and take advantage of the peace and quiet. Of course you don’t want to rob your co-workers of space that can be used for team meetings and real collaboration. But chances are there is a meeting room in your office that is being underutilized.
3. Arrive at the Office Earlier
Try showing up for work an hour early and you may never go back. People who arrive at the office early are often amazed at how much more they can do. With so few interruptions, an early start can be great motivation for the rest of your day. It will also leave you feeling less guilty when you have a non-work related conversation with a colleague later in the day.
4. Work from Home One Day per Week
If you don’t currently work remotely part of the time, it’s worth having the conversation with your boss. By explaining the real benefits of the request – to be more productive – many managers are willing to let their employees work from home one day a week. And if you are able to gain this privilege, be sure to make the most of your time when you do work from home. Chances are that if you can show you’re increased output and performance, you may be able to negotiate extra days to work remotely.
Question: Which of the four suggestions will you start to implement? Leave your answer in the comments below.
When managing projects in Trello, it can be beneficial to have certain cards repeat at a regular interval. Fortunately, there is the Card Repeater Power-Up which gives you this ability. In this video, I show you how to enable this feature and use it on any Trello board.
Question: How do you plan to use repeating cards on your Trello board? Leave your answer in the comments below.