Are you a single tasker or a multi tasker? Do you have lots of tabs and documents open at once, or do you prefer to focus on one thing at a time? No matter your preference, you need a system to help organise your workload, as unproductivity becomes expensive quickly once you’re continually switching between one task and another, or if you become so bogged down in one project that you lose focus of the next steps on your list. You need to be able to focus and keep your work streamlined and your to-do list even more so!
1. Simplify your workload
The massive project you’re heading up may seem overwhelming, and in these cases it’s always easier to do something smaller and push starting back another hour or to another day. This isn’t productive, however, and can cost businesses money in lost revenue or clients if projects are delayed or rushed, so start as you mean to go on by breaking down the task into manageable chunks and delegate subtasks if you need to. Use a task management system such as a daily planner and break the project down into hours or days’ worth of jobs rather than reserving a lot of time that you know will get pushed back.
2. Track your time
There are numerous time tracking apps and programs out there but you can do it just with a stopwatch (digital or otherwise) if you want to. Tracking the time you’ve spent on any given element or project will help you streamline the work as you will know you only have X time left to get the work done, or it will have to either stretch into something else or be completed another day. This also helps keep a handle on resource costs, which your finance department will be grateful for!
3. Avoid social media
Whilst the odd minute here or there on Facebook doesn’t seem like a lot, altogether they add up. You just quickly log on to check your feed and the next thing you know, you’ve wished 3 friends happy birthday, commented on 5 status updates and been caught admiring photos of your mum’s dog. Whilst Facebook and other social channels have their place in helping you unwind and take a few minutes off (nobody can work 100% of the time), they need to be kept for pre-determined break times and out of work.
4. Turn your emails off
Unless you need to have your emails open for a reason, download any documents or emails you need to your desktop and close your email client or browser completely. Whilst it’s important to keep in touch with what’s going on with your clients and colleagues, taking an hour out to become “incommunicado” so you can complete a project is unlikely to hurt anyone, and render you more productive in the long run. Seeing an email come in is a distraction and before you know it you’ll be halfway through a reply on a topic completely unrelated to what you’re supposed to be working on.
5. Use apps and programs
There are many apps and programs out there to aid productivity, and new ones being released all the time. Need something to remember your passwords, or run your e-to-do-list, or track your timekeeping? There’s an app for all of those, as well as apps and programs to aid social media, document processing, computer organisation and even brain training, if you feel like your cells and synapses need a bit of a workout!