On any given day, you have a lot of work to get done. Your workload feels like it’s stacked to the ceiling and it puts you under enough stress that you can’t think straight. This is a familiar feeling for anybody, regardless of what kind of work they do. The emails, the calls, the projects. They all require a different way of thinking and you can’t do it all at once.
While you may be the hardest worker in the office or within your own business, you may be spinning your tires. Knowing how to work efficiently is as important as how much time and effort you put into it. Prioritizing your time properly is one of the most effective tools you can use to really excel daily. You will find that you spend less time on projects as you inspect those wasted minutes.
1 Start the Day Right
No matter how early you must wake up, it’s important to have some reflective time in the morning. Even for just ten minutes, you can mindfully drink a coffee or do the smallest bit of exercise to promote energy in the body. Most successful people have a morning routine that includes a fulfilling past time. Having a clear mind allows you to prioritize effectively.
2 Plan Your Day Out
Now that you’ve cleared the cobwebs out of your mind and body, it’s time to prioritize your day. Writing down a list of your tasks to be done today is like having an assistant that sets your course. Sort in order of priority and focus on urgent tasks that need to be done today. It makes it so much easier to stay on task and meet your goals. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Consider what your goals and commitments are, write down everything that you must do to meet those goals.
Get challenging tasks done first while your mind is fresh Set a time to check your email instead of checking periodically
3 Review Your Workload
If you’ve been writing everything down for a while, you will notice that there are things which always end up as last priorities. This doesn’t mean they aren’t important, it could mean you’re avoiding those tasks altogether.
The thing is, subconsciously, that task is adding stress to your days until it’s completed so it’s causing “brain fog”. You may want to consider giving the task to someone else if possible. If you work from home, you can use Fiverr or another freelance site to outsource work. It doesn’t have to cost a lot and you can source someone who specializes in the work you’re avoiding. This frees you up to do the things you’re good at or are more important to the essential point of your work or business.
4 Be a Realistic When Setting Deadlines
It’s important to give yourself deadlines for any project to propel you to get it done. You want to be realistic, however, or you may end up feeling overwhelmed and defeated. This can cause you to lose motivation and confidence in your abilities. To avoid this, don’t be overoptimistic when looking at your tasks. Give tasks just enough time to put you under a bit of pressure, so you focus, but don’t try to be Superman.
5 One Task at a Time
Staying on task is probably one of the most challenging aspects of prioritizing your time. You don’t have control over the various interruptions you may experience. You can, however, help yourself by staying on a job once you’ve picked it up. Regardless of distractions and tasks that may temporarily trump your committed project, avoid putting it back in the pile. Every time you can go back to the “business as usual” task, choose the job you committed to. Once it’s done, pick up the next job in line.
6 Maintain a Logbook
While writing down your tasks, mark down how long they took you. You can include the amount of time it took to read and respond to emails also. This is a highly useful tool when you’re trying to figure out how long certain tasks take.
Writing daily task lists on top of maintaining where your time assists you in becoming better at time management as time goes on. You may also find it useful to dissect where time was unnecessarily wasted and avoid similar situations in the future.
7 Schedule Fun and Breaks
If your list has nothing but challenging projects and mundane tasks, you will likely start to dislike the whole process. Add the fun stuff to your list so you’re reminded of the reward you will receive once you’ve tackled the tougher parts of your day.
For example, you can write in your coffee breaks, plans for lunch or what you’re doing after work. When you start your list, schedule in your breaks even if you have no plans. You may even stay at your desk and just stretch a little as you veer your face away from the computer screen at 10:00 am. Remind yourself that you’re only human and need to have some fun stuff in your day.
You should notice an increase in your daily workload when you start writing everything down and sticking to your list. Prioritizing the big, important things that pose the biggest challenges should be done when your mind is at its optimum.
Don’t let outside distractions like social media or emails constantly get in the way of your list. It may seem awkward at first but once you see the benefits of thinking about your tasks and writing them down daily, you’ll notice a shift in your work practice. You’ll alleviate stress because you’ll be getting the most important things done. It feels good to scratch things off your list too.