Ruhi’s Productivity 101
Ever ended up with brain fog, not at 4pm but by 12 noon already? It happens to all of us. I run Litracy, an imprint of White Dog Books. We’re situated in Hauz Khas Village amidst winding lanes of cool shops and quirky cafes. This makes for a recipe for either too much work or too much play. Here is how I narrow it down to a system that works.
The toughest, first
Is there a call you’ve been dreading or an email you haven’t been looking forward to writing? For me, it tends to be going over the second or third round of a book’s proofs. The mornings are when your willpower is at the highest. And you have fresh eyes. The toughest task, when accomplished at the beginning of the day gives you a motivational high for the rest of the day. And Ruhi’s secret tip: it’s actually easier. No kidding when I tell you, what is going to take you an hour to accomplish at the end of the day, will take you fifteen minutes at the beginning of the day.
How-to: The way to do this is to avoid the morning rush. This may mean sitting down straight to work without chit-chatting with colleagues or it may mean reaching work early which means winding down earlier the night before. No sweat, you can of course mix in some play and time with colleagues, just after this task is done. You’ll be more at ease any way.
I usually have a list that’s 20 points long, but I shorten it to three tasks per day. Not to say I won’t do the others, but once the three top priority tasks are done by 2pm, I can take a breather and keep the rest of the day for contingencies and emergencies. For me, the top 3 tasks can mean: orchestrate a meeting between an author and a PR for an upcoming launch, a con-call with White Dog’s editorial dept., tweaking the blurb of a book.
How-to: Make a list of everything you have to accomplish the following week, in the evenings before you leave work. Circle the top 3 with a pencil. Don’t ever have a month-long list that you look at daily, that will just overwhelm you. In fact, have a month list on a different page, where you cross out and keep adding points. I’m also a big fan of the bullet journal to organise my work day.
Because my workday involves leading a team at Litracy, keep an eye on interns, giving regular updates to White Dog, I have a list of things to tick-check once a day, mostly in the second half: - check-in on interns - go over social media and Aisha’s sched
- updates to White Dog if any
How-to: this will evolve over time - if you have a list of things you do or would want to spend even a minute doing, write it down here. Some days, like a Friday, may have a different rundown from a Monday.
That’s it guys. It’s even more important for me to be on top of things, as my mother, Farah, the editor-in-chief of White Dog Books is a tough boss, to everyone, not just me. In order to maintain a good output, I needed a system that works. And this is mine.
Ruhi Singh is the founder and managing editor of Litracy Books, an Indian imprint of multi-national publisher, White Dog Books. She breathes books. Read more about her in the novel Adulting.
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