Want a productive and satisfying work day?

Starting the business day with a plan is part of successful time management.

But how do you know if your plan for the day is focused on what your business needs right now?

Is the work you enjoy first on your list?  Is the work that will generate client satisfaction on the top of your list?  What about generating revenue? 

Setting out on your workday adventure is about prioritizing - but how you prioritize is also important.  And the flexibility to adjust your priorities is a skill that is often avoided.

At the end of my work day yesterday, I put my priorities in place for today.  This morning, they got reorganized.  

This is a result of taking my business vitals every morning.  If I do it everyday, it only takes 10 minutes.

Here are the vitals I take before I start my journey for a productive and satisfying work day.

1.  I check my calendar.  Usually this is to make sure I haven't forgotten about an appointment.  Sometimes as I look ahead, I need to add tasks because of upcoming deadlines.  Or I need to record meetings in my calendar because appointments got booked or rescheduled. 

2.  I review my priority list for the day.  As I stated above, sometimes this changes because of taking my vitals.  I was going to spend today working on a project that is a personal goal of mine.  Instead I am spending most of today doing work that will generate revenue and then I moved the personal project (that may or may not generate revenue) to tomorrow's list.

3. I review my personal and business bank accounts.  If nothing else, this should drive your priority list.  If you own your own business, you need to focus your time on things that generate revenue.  If you don't own your own business, it is still good to review your personal bank account to make sure things are in order and no surprises come up.

4.  I review and manage my electronic case files from the court.  When a new court document gets filed I get an e-mail notification.  The more important step for me is to login in to my account and download that file and save it to my clients case file in my own electronic system.  If I do this step everyday I am certain to not miss anything, which can happen if I only relied on the e-mail notices.  The document may also require a notation on my calendar for a court hearing or court deadline.  Searching for important and timely information can apply even if you don't practice law.  You could scan your e-mails and see if there is something a supervisor or manager has asked you to take care of - take time to get this on your priority list and let them know that you are working on it.

5.  I check Facebook.  I do this for about 5 minutes - it is a funny vital to take - but it provides a reminder that my life isn't all about work.  I get to see what my friends and family are up to.  For work purposes, I get private message questions from my colleagues about my business or a possible referral.  I also enjoy the smiling faces in the photos that are found on Facebook.

These are the vitals I take everyday.  When I can't do it that day, I do it the next, it just takes a little longer.  When I started this process about a year ago, it took me an hour but with frequency comes efficiency.  After you've tried it for a week, you will feel like you are in control of your work destiny for the day.

Taking time to check these vitals helps me focus on what is important in my day.  I am less likely to fall prey to the emergency demand for something or to let other's dictate my priorities for the day.

Start with checking one vital at the beginning of the day - it can be anything you want - just make sure it revolves around something that will lead to a productive and satisfying work day.