30 minutes on Sunday night helps me avoid chaos during the week. My routine is to look at everything on my plate and note down the most important ones. Usually 6–10 items. Everyday, before I start something new, I see this list to make sure I spend most of my day on the most important stuff. This is all the project management that my teams and I need. This system relies on 3 pillars:
1. Big Needle(s) to Move
I must always know what big needle(s) we are trying to move. Without that explicit knowledge, I can never identify the most important items. The big needle could depend on the goal for my team; it could be an impending milestone; or be driven by a crisis. Knowing what to focus on wins half the battle.
2. Method to Process Inputs
I must have a method of efficiently processing all the inputs I get in form of emails, IMs, meeting notes, todos, or white-boarding ideas. Aspects of GTD system are helpful. I try to finish quick things immediately; send stuff to others if I can’t do it; file and tag stuff on my plate so I can access them on demand. Tools are of-course helpful.
3. Stamina to Survive Noise
In most of knowledge roles, we get inundated with inputs. The noise is bound to overwhelm us. It is a never ending battle. It needs stamina, patience, and tact to keep focus. As companies grow, it becomes harder. I follow a simple rule: I’ll spend most of the day on the most important stuff. As for rest of the time, let’s just say that a lot of good can happen in that :).