Staying Organised and On Top of your ‘To Do’ List
With the whole world ‘ON’ all of the time it can be very difficult to remain fully focused each day.
So that you accomplish the things that you really want to achieve, rather than getting waylaid by all the inevitable interruptions that occur, here are some tips to help you:
DECIDE: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE TODAY?
- First and foremost, so that we can be on top of our ‘To Do’ list, we need to plan our day in advance.
- We need to DECIDE, what we need to get done in a day and what we want to get done in a day (or week, month, year etc. the same principles will apply).
- Focus on what YOUR needs and desires are and get these written down somewhere safe. This is probably best away from the digital world – as here you will be likely to become distracted by everything that is happening in that online world.
- Instead use a simple piece of paper or if you prefer, a sturdy notebook or journal – then you can easily transfer tasks forward that are as yet to be completed, to the following page.
It is a mistake to think that you don’t have time to plan and to just dive in with one of the tasks that you know needs to be done. Planning first results in the right things being done, despite all the other ‘noise’ that is going on around you.
Once you have focused on how you want YOUR day to go, you need to set some priorities.
SET SOME PRIORITIES
When you plan your ‘To Do’ list at the start of each day (or better still, the night before) you will always achieve more than when you don’t. If you can make this a regular daily habit you will therefore improve your productivity hugely.
Once you have your list, you now need to establish your priorities – this too is vital. Otherwise you may end up completing the ‘urgent’ tasks but none of the important ones – the life changing ones, the ones that bring in more revenue, the ones that make you happy and so on.
A quick, simple analysis of your list will ensure that you get the most important tasks completed as well as some of the lesser ones:
- Look at your ‘To Do’ list and ask yourself, ‘Which tasks MUST be completed today?’ as well as ‘Which tasks would I really like to complete today?’
- In other words, which are the most urgent? Which are the most important?
- Be careful here, as these two words have totally different meanings:
- URGENT – something that is ‘shouting’ at you however it may not in fact be important – the phone may be ringing but it may be an unwanted sales call for example.
- IMPORTANT – something that is potentially life-changing – something bigger than just today, if you achieve this you will probably create a rush of endorphins as a result.
The reality is that on each day you will usually complete some of each category. The essential part to remember is to make sure that you DO complete some that fit the ’important’ category so that you feel a sense of fulfilment at the end of each day.
FACTOR IN DISTRACTIONS
Even though you are now focused and you know what you want to do today, there are bound to be distractions and these need to be factored in to a greater or lesser extent.
Some days you may be able to be interrupted more than others; take this all into account. By doing so you will keep on top of your workload, reducing stress and increasing your productivity.
- Work to your strengths and to your own personal feelings and needs where possible.
- Most of us have larger tasks to complete as well as smaller ones. Whenever you have energy highs, it will be well worth cracking on with one of the larger tasks so that you are working most effectively on it.
- If you have a task to do which you are not looking forward to in the slightest, take the bull by the horns and do it first! Then you don’t have to keep wasting energy by thinking about it all day long and (probably) putting it off until tomorrow.
- When you feel your energy lacking, this can be a good time to complete the smaller, 5 or 10 minute tasks that need doing but do not require you to be performing at optimum levels.
KNOW HOW LONG THINGS TAKE
There is a magic formula which I recommend to my clients and this is that everything tends to take at least twice as long as you think it will, plus a bit more! So if you think something will take an hour, in all likelihood it will take anywhere between 2 and 2.5 hours. Factor this in and you will not be disappointed at your productivity levels!
Now you have your ‘To Do’ list, with large and small tasks written down. You have chosen the priorities for each task and labelled them 1- 10 (for example). You have an estimate of time to be taken for each task. You have factored in some ‘timeout’ / distractions time – so that you are not putting unrealistic stress on yourself by trying to achieve the impossible each day. Oh and of course you have allowed time for a proper meal break.
Remember a working day is usually approximately 8 hours. Keep this in your mind and stick to it. This in itself will focus you and keep you on track – when your list of tasks adds up to 8 hours, you know you need to stick to it and cannot deviate! Then you can go home or do something else, non-work related.
Enjoy staying organised and on top of your ‘To Do’ list!
This post was written by life coach and mentor, Claire Fuller.
For more information as well as further help to become even more organised and productive, visit Claire’s website https://www.clairefuller.com/product/more-hours-in-the-day/ .