“I don’t have enough time,” “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” “I’m too busy” - three phrases heard daily in the workplace.
Granted, you'll always be under pressure to deliver results but surely there are ways to maximise your productivity without driving yourself clinically insane and working 18 hour days? ... Yes there are!
Attitude, Assemble, Action.
I know it sounds like another of those cheesy clichés but believe me it works!
Being a bit of an organisation freak (ok, some might call it OCD) I thought, what better way to introduce myself to the FR blogging world, than to share some of my tried and tested techniques for making your working week more manageable.
1. Visualise the week’s successes – Firstly remove those first three phrases from your vocab, nobody likes a complainer and your day plan won’t care either! Having a positive outlook on your busy week ahead can help you achieve your goals. Envisage your ideal outcome for your multiple tasks and projects for the week - you can then strategically work backwards in order to plan the steps needed to reach your desired results.
2. Delegation is a skill not a weakness - Realise you can’t always do everything on your own and that accepting help is a big part of how successful professionals are able to prioritise and apply maximum focus to their more pressing projects.
3. Prepare for Monday on Friday – As much as the #FridayFeeling may be kicking in and the sweet thoughts of a lie-in and a night on the town are head-butting their way to the forefront of your mind. You need to use this valuable time to reflect on the week’s successes and pitfalls and to organise your priorities for the coming Monday. This doesn’t have to be time consuming; even if you take just 10 minutes to write down your three MITs (most important things) for the week, this ensures you have a focus from the moment you're back at your desk on Monday morning.
4. Be one step ahead – Allocate 15 minutes at the end of each day to review your schedule for the following day. Ensure you're prepared for any meetings or have everything you need if you're going to be out of the office for example. Maybe even leave yourself a little desk treat if you know it’s going to be a tough day. (Although I do tend to use this as an excuse for a daily Twix or Wispa.)
This is also a good time to squeeze in some of those smaller tasks you have sneakily pushed to the bottom of the list under more pressing priorities.
5. Braindump – Carry a notepad everywhere! Get all that information out of your head that's whizzing round at 100 mph – meetings, reminders, phone numbers; even just ‘pick up wine on way home!’ This simple tip really does work and allows you to switch off more easily at the end of the day and start tomorrow with a clear and fresh mindset. (I even have a notepad at the side of my bed, so when I wake up at 3am with that light bulb moment, I can write it down and go straight back to sleep rather than hoping I'll remember it in the morning).
6. Have a list of ‘once a days’ – For those unavoidable but important tasks – check voicemails, organise inbox, manage social media, blah blah blah. Try to set aside just 10-15 minutes each day to chip away at these so they don't get out of hand and become unmanageable.
7. Tackle the big projects first – It’s easy to take the easy route and tell yourself ‘I’ll do it later’, especially when dealing with Monday morning blues; however studies actually show your brain is more alert at the beginning of the week. This also allows more time for you to contend with any obstacles you might have to deal with and deliver a more methodical and less rushed final outcome.
Think of it like payday. You should always prioritise for the spending marathon with the big important stuff first. For me it’s hair and nails appointment, new dress for weekend, treat takeaway, rent; you get my point!
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