This week’s Guest Blog is from Helen Winder Managing Director of Transire Ltd – here are some of Helen’s thoughts on Productivity.
It is so easy to get sucked in to the everyday rumble of the office, client work, enquiries etc and so so easy to lose track and fall behind on tasks.
I know from personal experience what this can be like and how it can massively add to stress. Running a business, supporting clients and trying to focus on growing your business can be very daunting, exhausting and seem like a mountain.
But, from taking a just a few simple steps, you can organise your day to be less of a blur and more like a Wahooo!
I use a few tools to help me ….
- My trusted notebooks … One for each client so I don’t confuse tasks etc.
- Sticky Notes … for writing those little things you MUST NOT forget to do NOW!
- Coloured Pens … I use a different colour for notes with different actions. This is so I can distinguish on my paper at a glance action steps.
- My To Do List for the day … I have one list for that day and only look at that list!
- Time Tracking tools … I use an application called Harvest to keep a tab on how long I have spent on a particular action/project. In fact, the whole team use it.
All of the above help me to organise my day. I can then allocate the time needed on each task appropriately, keep a track of the time which means it fits in to my schedule.
So, to help you get started, here are just a few other things to think about when writing your To Do List and planning
Always plan or you will find the hours slipping away from you. Don’t forget to plan for the following day. Write those tasks down which do not need to be done today and write a time scale against them. How long you see each task taking. Especially if it is a paid piece of work which you have quoted for!.
After planning your To Do list, mark the items (either with a number or a coloured pen). Give priority to the most pressing tasks, and then the next priority down for those which need to be done today but not urgent. Thirdly, the nice to do if you have the time and then those that can wait until tomorrow or even Friday, which I call “tidy up” day.
Avoid cramming the day:
Don’t forget to leave some time aside. You do not want to find yourself cramming more than you can realistically do in your day! If you do this then you will simply leave your work feeling stressed, overloaded and not able to face the work and so the list will just keep growing.
FOCUS FOCUS FOCUS:
You must allow yourself to focus on one thing at a time. It is not possible to share your time between one task and another without missing something out! If you have to break to carry out another task then literally stop the clock. Stop what you are doing, make a note of where you have got up to, take a deep breath and then start your clock on the new task. Don’t forget to return to the task you were doing and make sure you finish it! If the interrupting task can wait, then put it on your To Do list for the next day. Don’t take things on if they really can wait!
Those dreaded interruptions:
Interruptions are not easy to avoid but … If you have a task you must concentrate on then put your phone on to voicemail or redirect it to your call handling service if you have one (if not then you must look in to it!). Take the essential comfort break, make sure you have a drink next to you and FOCUS. If you are like me and love music, pop some of your favourite music on to distract yourself from other office sounds. Close your email down so that you are not keeping an eye on incoming email!
ASK for help:
I don’t know about you but I do find that I tend to keep everything to myself. Don’t, if you have something you can easily pass to someone else to help you then DO IT! There is no harm at all asking for help.
Are you a Skylark or an Owl?
If you are a Skylark who is up and active early, then schedule your more involved tasks for then. If you are an Owl like me then schedule them for later in the day. Make use of your own clock!
Well, I hope you find these tips useful.
I would love to hear how you plan your day.
Helen Winder is the Managing Director of Transire Ltd. Helen works very closely with all the clients of Transire and is always looking ahead to ensure they meet their personal and business goals. Through her own experiences in business she also acts as a sounding board when needed. Connect with Helen on twitter: @helenwinder and @transireltd or visit http://transireltd.com