We all have days when we feel overwhelmed and arrive at the office with our head filled with all the things we have to do, not really knowing where to start. We feel demotivated and stressed and waste time trying to get started.
This will always be a problem in a busy world but there are some very simple techniques that help enormously.
Don’t agree to commitments lightly
A lot of stress comes from bad time-management with regard to our obligations and commitments made to our bosses and colleagues. Out of goodwill we often agree to more commitments than we can reasonably deal with - both trivial and strategic - putting us in a difficult position when we are unable to fulfull all of them.
So, when you take on a commitment, however trivial, clearly define what you’ll need to do and the time it will take you to do it. If you dare’nt say no to a request, consider replying: "I'll think about it and let you know," or "It's a good idea, let me think about it". This will give you enough time to judge its importance and see whether you can realistically deal with it or not.
Create a numerical task list
It can never be emphasized enough: having a list of tasks will save you time! Instead of a day-by-day approach try taking a little time this weekend to make a list of your tasks over the next few days. Think about grouping your lists by subject, for a better indexing structure. Then put all of your task lists online so that they are well organized and not lying around on little bits of paper. If they are online on a reliable software, you always be able to access them and will have less chance of forgetting anything. Be sure to use an easily accessible and familiar software.
Listing and organizing tasks is not enough, you must be able to pinpoint priorities. Make sure you don’t confuse urgency with importance! Give a lower priority to issues that are less important and focus on those that allow you to achieve real goals. Don’t get distracted by small urgent tasks that are generally quick and easy to do, prioritize the important ones. Prioritize your task list in descending order. You will now have a clear idea of what to do first.
Procrastination, the art of consistently putting things off till tomorrow is commonplace when you have a lot to do. Reasons abound; lack of motivation, lack of self-confidence, distraction, never seeming to have enough time ... but in the words of the famous psychologist William James, “nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.” So learn not to focus on the task itself but what it will bring you once completed, aiming for the end-result will make you more enthusiastic about completing a task.
It’s also a good idea to make sure you know the final decision-maker of the task is at hand. Ask yourself who is responsible for signing off on this task? If it's not you, you might have a tendency to postpone the deadline. Get in touch with everyone involved in this task and determine each person’s role. It may turn out that in fact you have no direct role to play and you can remove the task from your to-do list.
Equip yourself with tools tailored to your needs
Any help organizing your work is useful. Most people use at least paper lists or post-its and even with all the best will in the world, it’s very difficult to change a habit. But bear in mind that there are better and easier ways to organize your work effectively.
Today, we are well implanted in the digital age and particularly as SaaS users: software accessible from any Internet connection that requires no installation. You can access your lists of tasks anytime and anywhere. Planzone tales you one step further, you can not only create lists and prioritize them but also associate tasks to comments or documents and share these with your team. Organizing your work suddenly becomes much easier. Try our solution for free to get an idea of how easy it is.
Any advice you would give to properly organize one’s work? What tools do you use?
Until next time
The Planzone team