With Friday upon us, the wise look towards the week ahead. Forward planning almost always results in improved organization and performance. Whether this week went as planned or if there were a few hiccups along the way, looking at how we can improve the week ahead is a smart move.
Those who manage their time effectively are able to get more done and successfully take advantage of the hours that they have available to them. Although these people are often said to be “super-organized” or “naturally organized people”, many of them have a trick or two up their sleeves that the rest of us “ordinary folk” could learn from. In this two-part post we will take you through some top tips to guard you against an unproductive way of working – before we set you some small challenges to put your new-found knowledge into practice.
1. Keep everything in one place
Whether you use pen and paper, your laptop or even your cellphone, when you have an ever increasing pile of things to do – put them all in one place. Jana Jasper, a New York-based productivity expert and author of Take Back Your Time, tells how we are plagued by the fear of forgetting our tasks – “We’re always in a rush. We start things and don’t finish them and are constantly nagged by the idea that we’ve forgotten to do something, but we’re not sure what it is.”
So, as soon as you realize a task needs to be completed, record it. That way, the next time you’re haunted by that nagging feeling you can simply look through your array of tasks and locate what you need in an instant – which is much easier than trying to rack your memory! Once you have all your tasks in one place, you’ll also need to develop a system whereby you can easily organize, locate and manage them in an effective way – without wasting time. We’ll address how to do this towards the end of this post.
2. Group related tasks together
When recording your tasks it can be important to keep related tasks close by to enable us to be more efficient and complete groups of tasks all at once. For example, you may need to speak to an events company about organizing a local charity event but you know that you also need to organize a party in a weeks’ time. Two separate things that are on your radar of things to do, but by grouping them together you could make one phone call and inquire about both the charity event and the party at once.
Not all tasks are simultaneously urgent, important and need to be actioned immediately. By taking a moment to analyse which one of the following groups a task falls into, you’ll be helping yourself decide what to do next and what can be left until later. This is a widely accepted way of filtering out your tasks as devised by D. Eisenhower (former president of the US):
- Urgent and important (action immediately)
- Not urgent but important (action later)
- Urgent but not important (consider dismissing/delegating)
- Neither urgent nor important (consider dismissing)
By setting both the urgency and importance of a task, it will help you know what you should focus your attention on next and what can be left until later. It’s impossible to do everything at once, but prioritizing your workload can help you see where to start. You may even find that you reduce your workload by eliminating irrelevant tasks or those with low importance.
Now you know how to become one of the “super-organized”, I’d love to point you in the direction of DropTask as the place to go to put these steps into practice. In DropTask, you can use a simple drag and drop approach to create tasks based on your responsibilities, while easily organizing them into colorful groups to keep related items together. What’s more, you can do all this (plus much more) for free by signing up to DropTask here.
Coming Soon… In part 2 of this post we will show you how to take these concepts further by introducing person-specific task assignment, team collaboration, sub-tasks, plus more! In the meantime, why not let us know how you’re getting on when practising these time management tips? We’d love to hear from you, so leave your comments in the section below or if you would like some one-to-one advice email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.