|It is easy to become overwhelmed by work unless you have a plan.|
Have you noticed that you can have the best intentions to get a set number of projects done a day but usually run out of day before you can finish? Perhaps, this does not describe you. However, if you fall into this trap and wonder what happened, then here are some time saving strategies for organizing a busy day that can help you be more productive.
Start by Planning What Needs Done the Night Before
I start the night before by making a small list of what I need to do the next day. You don’t want to overextend yourself so keep the list doable with no more than nine tasks. For example, you might write down grocery shopping, go to the dentist, pick up prescriptions at the drugstore, going to the post office, go to the bank, pick your child up after school, return library books, change bedding and laundry besides normal household cleaning and cooking.
Mornings Are Prime Time When You Can Get the Most Done
I don’t know about you, but mornings are the best time to start tackling a full day. Therefore, I make it a point to get up at least twenty minutes before the alarm clock rings to get everyone in my household ready for the day. This is plugging in the coffee maker that I already filled the night before, grabbing the lunches from the refrigerator that I also made ahead while turning on the news for any weather and traffic updates while putting the pot on to cook oatmeal or scrambled eggs. My routine simplifies getting everyone out of the door on time and enjoying our family time over a nutritious cooked breakfast.
When everyone is gone, the house is quiet and perfect for me to get a head start on my writing, research and correspondence. However, I do not open emails until I have my post partially underway.
By the time the sun is fully shining, I take a break and throw in some laundry, do the dishes or another household task before returning to the computer. While I’m occupied with a household task, I mull over what I was writing and think where I’m going next with the piece. Using a small distraction gives me clarity instead of staring at the screen when you can’t find the right words.
Checking Emails Constantly Disrupts Productively
How many of us constantly check for new messages? I would always do that, but found you waste unnecessary time doing that one thing too often. Instead, I found it is more helpful to check less. For me, I do it about an hour after I sit down at the computer and then before lunch, mid-afternoon and evening, about every two or three hours is a good estimate. This way the computer doesn’t own me, but I still am in touch and accessible.
Also, keep your correspondence polite but short. Otherwise, you can waste a lot of time that could be used tackling your work and other tasks.
Prioritize Tasks by Importance
The best way to tackle many projects at one time is by organizing them by importance. Start with the most pressing task and work your way down your list guarantees you completely finish each goal.
Multitasking Is Not Always the Answer
Sometimes, when trying to complete too many tasks at the same time, then you don’t do a good job or have enough steam to finish at all. Another problem with multitasking is that you can become too distracted to devote the same levels of concentration for any remaining tasks. I found that I can often get more done by keeping focused on one task at a time while using breaks to refresh my thoughts.
Limit Unnecessary Interruptions While Working
Have you ever noticed how many robo calls you can get in one day? Unless you’re expecting an important phone call from your doctor, an employer, clients, etc., then I suggest letting your answering machine pick up. Once you pick up, this signals those pesky telemarketers that they have a viable number. Instead of allowing them to waste your time, do yourself a favor and let them get your machine. You can get back to working in peace.
Taking Breaks Helps Refresh the Mind and Body to Accomplish More
We try hard to get as much done in one sitting or toward a certain task that we often forget to stop for lunch, a coffee break or just to get up from our seat to stretch our legs from sitting for hours on end. However, you are not helping yourself as much as you may think. Breaks serve a purpose to re-energize us in both the mind and body.
Take a few minutes and walk around your office, visit the restroom or grab a cup of coffee or herbal tea can do wonders to keep you invigorated and in top working condition through a normal day. Try it and see an improvement in creativity as well as productivity.
Establish a Quitting Time and Stick to It
If you work at home or leave work at a certain time, then establish some ground rules with your employer that you are unavailable after hours. Of course, if you have a position such as in the medical field, police or any emergency services, then this would be impossible. Nonetheless, most of us aren’t in such a position and depend on this free time to relax and plan for the next day. Without recouping, our productivity slacks down and our relationships may suffer. Therefore, turn off your devices and disconnect from the computer at a set hour can cut down on stress and help you get more accomplished the next day.