Quite often when we’re working, we don’t get to the bottom of our to-do list, things get in the way, unexpected things happen, time flies and sometimes things just don’t get done. This can leave you feeling disheartened, stressed and then demotivated which is no use to anyone. If you were just a bit better organized, then you could be more prepared for the tasks thrown at you, more able to deal with unexpected complications, and less likely to panic when there’s a deadline looming. The simplest and smallest changes often have the most significant effects on productivity, so have a look at these tips to see how they can help:
Planning should be as important as the project itself. You first of all need to decide on what you need to do and when you need to do it. Don’t overwhelm yourself, think realistically about what you can get done in what amount of time and begin to structure your day. Allocate time for everything from your meeting to time working on your own. Break your tasks into manageable slots so it’s not overwhelming and when the first one is complete, you’ll only have a few more to go. Find ways of rewarding yourself as you progress through your to-do list.
Choose Your Tool
How do you keep track of all the tasks you have to do? Do you have some emails marked unread or flagged, some on Post-It notes or in a notebook, then others in a to-do list app? This is a common mistake as the more places you have for your notes, the harder it will be to identify what you need to focus on right now. Get a piece of paper and write down all the things you have to do as they come to your mind. Start with what you have to do today, this week and so on, and continue as far ahead in time as you feel is helpful. Decide on one place where you will keep all your to-do tasks from now on. It doesn’t matter if this is a digital tool such as Outlook, have a look at some free scheduler maker tools, or you can use a notebook or even sticky notes on a board. Once all your tasks are in one place, you will instantly know what needs to be done and when – and that you are not missing anything crucial or urgent.
Clarify Your Tasks
Go through your list and formulate the details of every task concretely and thoroughly so that when you come to it, you still know what it means. If you first have to do one thing and then another before you can check a to-do task off the list, divide it into two separate jobs. Structure your tasks into categories so that the whole list doesn’t seem so overwhelming.
Plan For The Unplanned
Unexpected things happen all the time – and when they do, schedules and plans go out of the window. Tasks that you considered to be priorities earlier on in the day can all of a sudden no longer be as important as newer, more urgent tasks. The problem here is that you could feel discouraged instead of motivated, and decide that your work situation is impossible to change. Do your best to expect the unexpected and factor in some time as “spare” so that if you need to use it for something urgent, you don’t get behind and if you don’t then you can do something extra and get ahead or back on track if you have fallen behind with any previous tasks.
Look Back On Your Work
By looking back at what you have achieved, not only will this make you feel good but you will learn a lot about the way you work, and it will give you an essential structure tool: foresight. If you can create an ongoing routine that works for you, you’ll be able to anticipate upcoming events. Decide how often you need to stop and take a step back and review your list and categories when to do this, so it works best for you and schedule these slots in. Create a checklist of what you’ll go through during them. You’ll find this gives you more freedom which means you won’t be caught out by impending deadlines and you’ll be less likely to be finishing things at the last minute.