Editor’s Note: Multitasking has been a curse since the term leaked into our everyday business lives. Especially since it became a requirement in job responsibilities. Why? I think we all know, it really is not possible. My belief is that we can only do certain things great (rather than lots of things just “ok”), and I certainly know when I try to work on two things at once my productivity plummets. I used to think I was alone there – but I have heard differently from many a peer and professional. Ms. Schlapia outlines great steps you can take to work smarter and effectively, while also dispelling a few myths about work. We particularly liked the last tip – write down what distracts you. A great way to avoid that “squirrel!” moment when deep into a task.
Beware the barrenness of a busy life style
- Socrates 470BC-399BC Greek Athenian Philosopher
One of my passions is to find ways for teams to be more organized, manage time more efficiently, and ultimately be more productive. There are many things out of our control, but you can master how you choose to spend your time. Wasting time, being unorganized, or just down right lazy impacts your peers and your clients.
Make simple changes starting today to transform your work and personal life. Share these time management hacks with your team to increase productivity, reduce stress, and reap the benefits of effective time management.
DO NOT Work Longer Hours
More work hours does not equate to more productivity. The answer to overwhelm is not spinning more plates or doing more; it’s prioritizing and defining the few things that can fundamentally change your business and life. If you don’t prioritize, everything seems urgent and important. Every day before you leave the office write down the 3 to 5 most important tasks you want to accomplish the following day.
I love unitasking because it works. In fact, one of our clients recently told us that unitasking is her new mantra for the year! Multi-tasking is no longer something to brag about. It is unproductive, results in errors, and wastes time. Unitasking is the new skill set to learn and will take practice. If you focus on one project or task at a time, your productivity and quality of work will improve.
Long tasks are just plain hard to get into. It feels like you’ll never get done and feelings of stress and overwhelm creep in. Use timeboxing techniques by working in 30 to 50 minute intervals with 5-minute breaks. Decrease or increase your time intervals depending on the task. Have you ever noticed how you are more productive when you have little time? You will accomplish more than you think when you work in time intervals without distractions.
DO NOT Check Email Constantly
If you make one major change this month, resolve to not check your email constantly. While email is an important and valuable tool, the sad fact is people let their inbox rule their day. Set specific times to respond to e-mails. Focus on things early in the day that move your business and daily goals forward. E-mail can wait until you’ve completed at least one of your critical to-do items.
Create Standard Operating Procedures
Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) replicate best practices by describing detailed instructions on specific work processes. Create an SOP for your day and stick to it. You will find by having an organized list of daily duties will help keep you focused and finish routine tasks more quickly. Download our Standard Operating Procedure Template to get started.
DO NOT Look at a Big To-Do List
Collect your thoughts and annual goals in one location and then break them down into 90-day chunks. Big goals are achieved when they are clear and time sensitive; set deadlines for everything.
Write Down Anything That Distracts You
Have you ever been working on a big project and all of sudden you have random thoughts about new ideas, your plans for the weekend, or what you need to fix for dinner tonight? The point is, write down anything that distracts you. This will clear your head and you will be able to think more clearly about the project at hand.
I have incorporated these tips into my day and found a drastic change in increased productivity, less stress, and additional time. Instead of putting this article in your “I’ll get to this later pile,” write down the tips and keep them in a spot where you can look at them daily. Go a step further by incorporating all or some of the tips into your business and personal life. By doing so, I hope you will achieve the same results I have. Who doesn’t want more time and less stress!