In an age where we feel swamped with the amount of work commitments and responsibilities that we are faced with daily, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and give in to procrastination. However, this guide hopes to help you feel inspired and ready to tackle your to-do list!
When it comes to completing your to-do list, success stems from being organised and perfecting your time-management skills. It can be a good idea to make a realistic plan of your time for the week ahead at a particular point such as on a Sunday evening. Having this designated time in the week or at the end of the day allows you to organise your upcoming week and establishing a routine will help you to know what you should be doing and allow you to schedule the rest of your week around your tasks and errands. This will also ensure that you have enough time for what you need to get done.
Investing in stationery can be an excellent way to encourage you to be productive.
Often having visual aids such as post-it notes can help boost creativity and makes you more likely to tackle your daily to-do list. Investing in specific stationery pieces such as diary and a desk planner allows you to jot down the task lists that need to be completed vs. the ones that can wait. It can be advisable to make a rough plan of your time and dedicate it to important tasks that need to be completed within specific hours of the day. Keeping your diary updated as well will allow you to see at a glance all the upcoming deadlines that are looming so that you can plan your time adequately.
Tackle Your Least Favourite Task First
A wise man known as author Brian Tracy once said: “eat a live frog first thing in the morning, and nothing worse will happen to you for the rest of the day”.
What this quote means is that you should tackle your least favourite big task first! While the thought of doing this at the beginning of your day may not be the reason that you bounce out of bed in the morning, attempting your least favourite task first gets it out of the way and gives you the head space to focus on the other tasks. Ensuring that you have completed these tedious tasks will provide you with a great sense of accomplishment during the afternoon when you can divert your focus to the smaller tasks. When you cross off the worst task first, it will also make the other pieces of work that are needed to be done seem like nothing in comparison.
Have a Work Routine
With more and more of us working from home it can become tricky to craft a work routine. However, establishing the hours that you work helps to define your work life from your personal life. Setting out working hours will allow you to work towards completing your tasks, establish excellent task-management skills and ensure that you are not working into the early hours of the morning desperately trying to finish all your work. If you do shift work and receive your rotas well in advance, it is a good idea to keep on track of what hours you will be working each day so that you can complete tasks on time and plan out your schedule.
Take Regular Breaks
As much as we can all get caught up in trying to complete work, it is essential not to underestimate the importance of taking regular breaks. Sitting at a laptop all day is detrimental to your health, so you should try to ensure that you schedule in time to take breaks throughout the day.
Author S.J Scott argues that the need to make many decisions throughout your day wears down your reasoning ability and therefore encourages ‘decision fatigue’ and procrastination.
So, organising something as simple as having a coffee with a friend or taking the time to go on a short walk gives you something to look forward to when you are working and has also been proven to improve your productivity.
Create a ‘Done’ List
While we all place a heavy emphasis on drafting up a to-do list, it is also vital to create a ‘done’ list at the end of each day to keep track of what tasks have been completed and ones that haven’t. Doing this is constructive as it allows you to experience a sense of achievement when looking at what you have accomplished in the day.
Keeping a record of what you have achieved also gives you a gauge of if you have been as productive as you should have been. If you haven’t achieved as much as you would have liked to, then you may be able to reflect on what you did with the time when you should have been working. Looking at how little you may have achieved in a day and the unfinished tasks will most likely both scare and motivate you to complete more work the next day!
We live in a world where there is an app for just about anything! So it can be a good idea to utilise to-do list apps. There is a wide range of productivity apps on the market and they boast the advantage in that all of your information is condensed and not scattered around on various sheets of paper. Three of the most popular organisation apps are Evernote, Wunderlist and Trello.
Evernote allows you to integrate information from all your devices such as Google Calendar and Google Drive, which enables the collaboration both in app and web browser form. This means that you can keep track of all of your deadlines in one place and if you’re part of a team, all members can also use it.
Wunderlist is predominately used for organising everyday errands such as the place to write your shopping list. The USP (unique selling proposition) of Wunderlist is the app’s ability to set tasks with due dates and reminder alerts, which helps you stay on top of your to-do list items.
Trello is possibly one of the most visual organisation apps on the market. It is built around the concept of “boards” and “cards”, which makes it essentially like an online bulletin board with post-it notes – only in a digital format. The app gives you the ability to colour-code your tasks and reminders so that they are easier to spot. Trello also has its own calendar which allows it to remind you of any upcoming deadlines.
Think of the Bigger Picture
When you are starting to slack at ticking off your to-do list, take a step back and think about the bigger picture. Think of your goals and what it is that you are trying to achieve by working. Do you want to save up for a new car or to afford a holiday? Putting this into perspective and having an end goal to work towards is most likely going to improve your work ethic and productivity as you have something to strive towards achieving!
By following these tips and tricks you should be able to improve your organisation skills and thus become more productive. And if you’re ready to put what you’ve learnt into practice, check out our courses now!