The To-Do List
Where do you keep yours? A scrap of paper on your desk perhaps? If a hand written note on a piece of paper works for you then go with it! But don’t lose it on your desk, pin it to the wall where you can see it as a constant reminder of what is still outstanding.
Another idea is to add those To-Do tasks straight onto your wall calendar, if there is sufficient space to write everything down. I prefer the whiteboard hanging near my desk. Tasks are added and crossed off during the week and on a Friday I take time to read back though what I have achieved and schedule next week’s work.
We all have items on the To-Do list that never actually seem to get done, those unimportant tasks that would be really great to get done, but just aren’t significant enough to ever be at the top of the list. Eventually they start to weigh on you, they become a constant niggle, the nagging thought at the back of your mind that there is something you should make time for.
Making a schedule of tasks can make your day or week seem more achievable and can help get rid of some of those irksome but less important tasks that need doing. I prefer to do my scheduling on a Friday afternoon, and I organize the whole of the following week using a CRM system.
By using CRM software I am able to attach every task to the client or supplier it relates to, which I can then refer back to at a later date, if I ever need to. There is also the added advantage of being sent an email reminder every morning before I begin work, of the tasks that I need to complete that day.
The first items I add to the schedule are any meetings and how long I anticipate them to be. Then I add in any daily or weekly tasks that need to be done and those are then followed by the To-Do list. Of course, it would be a bit alarming to add everything onto Monday, so I pick just 3 things to achieve each day. If I have already scheduled a couple of meetings I may only add one thing off the To-Do list, but if the day is set to be quiet I will add more.
Move through your week feeling accomplished as you tackle every task on your schedule, and don’t forget to tick off each item as you finish them, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a To-Do list shrink!
The Multitasking Myth
People take great delight in telling you how good they are at multitasking, but are they really? Estimate how long a task will take you and then do it to see if you were right. Try the same task again while talking on the phone or eating a sandwich, did you manage it in the same timeframe and to the same standard? I doubt it!
Focus on one task at a time and not only will you produce better quality work in a faster time, you will also find more enjoyment in the task at hand, and be even more satisfied when yet another task is crossed off your list.
Ditch the Timewasters
We all have distractions that keep us from achieving success. The little ping announcing a new email draws you away from your current task to see what has arrived, but as often as not it will be junk! Switch it off, only check emails when you are ready to deal with them. Your client is not expecting an answer 20 seconds after sending.
Visit social media during your lunch time; we all know that the two minute job of posting on our business page will take an hour while we are distracted by friends posts, so build that time into your day and close down the websites while you are working. And if you get notifications to your phone, either switch it on to silent or put it where you can’t hear the distracting ping!
If the endlessly ringing phones are clients wanting to give you money then great! However, if the majority are cold callers or friends and family wanting a chat then it is a problem. Speak to friends and family and explain that you can’t take their calls during certain hours. Caller ID will help you identify them, and might be useful with cold callers too, the fewer of those calls you answer the fewer you will receive!
And finally…Reward Yourself!
Give yourself targets to work towards, and reward yourself when you achieve them! Even if it is just catching up with a friend over coffee. Maybe have a scale of achievements, coffee if you hit a small target, go out for lunch if you hit a bigger one, and when you land the deal that will make a significant difference to your business book a few days off to spend time with your family or take a short break. It is your achievement, so reward yourself how you want to!
I'd love to hear if any of my tips work for you, or if you want to share any other tips to help achieve success or feel accomplished while on your journey. Jamie xx
Jamie has spent many years working in administrative roles, she has also spent time as a stay at home mum and now loves the flexibility of working from her home office and being available for her family whenever they need her.