Do you find yourself stuck in a continuous loop of procrastination with a to-do list as long as your arm?
Learning how to be efficient, effective and organised can take some effort, but it is achievable with the right approach.
Here is a list of 12 things you can do to become more productive, less distracted and better serve your clients’ needs:
1 DECIDE WHAT YOU LOVE FIRST
• Make a list of things you enjoy doing.
• Try to write down 10 things.
• This is a list of tasks you want to do daily and would be happy to not ever delegate. Everyone writes something different on this list and it’s important to know what your favourite things are.
• Circle your top three tasks on the list.
2 HAVE A WEEKLY PERSONAL PLANNING SESSION
• Schedule time on the weekend, after you have finished your open for inspections and are relaxed, to plan.
• Set out the essentials for the week ahead.
• Be honest. If you must watch a TV show, go to the gym, head out for a run or call your mum, write it in the schedule.
• Be prepared for this to change as different priorities emerge.
3 START EACH DAY WITH A LIST OF THINGS TO BE DONE
• Better still, walk out of the office at the end of the day with a clear picture of what you need to do tomorrow. This gives you clarity on your schedule and clears your head for important family time at home.
• Relax, knowing the list has been made for the next day. It’s surprising how effective this is, once you’re used to it, in allowing you to clear your mind for a good night’s sleep.
4 SCHEDULE SOME THINKING TIME
• We think all day long, but not necessarily as an organised and methodical process.
• Spend 15 to 20 minutes inside thinking, without interruptions, electronic devices or distractions. Or go for a walk for 25 to 30 minutes and use the microphone function in the notes section of your phone to take down your ideas. Remember this is thinking time, so don’t take or make calls on your walk.
• Give yourself time to slow down and reflect on what has been, what is to come and what priority is attached to each task.
5 JUST DO IT
• Procrastination is a killer of motivation.
• If a task can be done in under five minutes, do it now.
• Get it done and move on to the next task.
• The longer you leave a task, the larger it seems and the less likely it is to be completed.
6 DEVELOP CHECKLISTS FOR REPEATING TASKS
• The more complicated the task, the more likely it is you will forget something.
• Make sure there is a step-by-step guide if you need a task completed a certain way.
• Ensure everyone knows the steps and follows the checklist.
• Checklists reduce stress and provide an accountability tool if things go awry.
7 SIMPLIFY THE REQUIREMENTS FOR EVERY TASK
• Make sure you have everything you need at your fingertips.
• If there are standard forms, marketing and other collateral have them ready to go.
• Use templates where possible.
• Personalisation requires personal attention. Don’t insert another person’s details with copy and paste. It looks unprofessional if you make a mistake.
• Doing it right the first time, saves time, energy and effort.
8 USE CHILD-FRIENDLY SYSTEMS
• Note I said child-friendly systems. I’m not encouraging the use of child labour, but advocating the adoption of simple systems.
• Complex systems do not work, except to demotivate.
• Keeping it simple, keeps it effective.
• Monitoring a simple system is also about being productive and efficient.
9 KEEP YOUR DESK CLUTTER FREE
• If an item on your desk does not serve an immediate and practical purpose, get rid of it.
• If it still has a use, put it where it will be used or where it can be easily accessed when required.
• Put items such as stationery, calculators and staplers in the draw and get them out when needed.
• Make your desk as paperless as possible. Keep a notebook to take notes from phone calls or brilliant thoughts to be processed later.
• Clear your desk at the end of each day, ready for a fresh start to tomorrow.
10 DO A STOCKTAKE
• Decide what to do with the items from your desk.
• Required for use now.
• To be filed for later use.
• Put it in the bin.
11 CLEAR YOUR MIND
• Give yourself some time at the end of the day to relax.
• Stop using digital devices at least 30 minutes before bed.
• Reflect on the day without over analysing. Did you do your top three (above) well?
• Know your primary goal for the next day and highlight it on the to-do list on your desk.
• Good night and sweet dreams.
12 GO GET ‘EM
• Call potential vendors and landlords.
• Complete your Top 3 from list Number 1.