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Attack your day with a strategy

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You began the day with such good intentions: start on a desk manual, tame a bulging file cabinet, create a FAQ document. But now, at the end of a busy day, you don’t feel as if you accomplished much.

What’s the best way to ensure that between interruptions and last-minute requests, you have a chance to do work that feels meaningful?

The biggest key, say experts, is creating a strategy for attacking the day. Here’s what two productivity pros told The New York Times:

1. Imagine that you have nothing to do the next day: no e-mail, no phone calls, no meetings, no specific plans, says Mark Ellwood, president of Pace Productivity. Then ask yourself: “What can I do to accomplish a long-term goal I want to achieve one month from now?”

This forces you to disentangle yourself from busywork long enough to focus on long-term projects.

2. End your day with a plan for the next day, and two days after that, says Julie Morgenstern, a productivity consultant based in New York.

This reduces the chances that you will be stuck in “reactive” mode: continually responding to calls, e-mail and in-person requests without an overarching plan of your own.

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