There are times in each of our lives when we are overloaded with work and our brain just goes BUZZZZ. We don’t know where to begin and where to end, which task to pick first and which to postpone, who to call and take help from and most importantly, how to meet the deadlines.
We just wish a genie to appear and get us through the day.
Though that is not possible, there are small tips which can help us in this situation. We all know about them but often forget to practice them. Having practised them myself for years now, I know they work, they work really well.
So, here I am, sharing my mantra for being more productive at work, not only on a usual day, but on an extremely busy day as well.
- Endless tasks scattered all around your desk? Start with making a list –Make a list of all the tasks, be it small or be it big. Need to ping a colleague and provide an update? You think you will remember it? Still add it to the list. It can be your savior if your mind decides to crash amidst all the turmoil. List down any kind of dependencies in a task- dependencies on a person, on another task and so on. This will help you in deciding which task to pick first. Also, write down the completion date along every task entry for better tracking.
Spending few minutes at the start of the day to make this list can help you save hours of time later in the day.
- Small tasks first, giant ones later –Take charge of the small tasks in your list first, ones like sending an update, filling a timesheet, raising a support ticket or verifying an error. As you progress through the tasks, don’t forget to update your list and keep ticking off the items in the list, updating their status as COMPLETED.
It serves as a great motivating factor when you see the task list shrinking.
- Our ears might not grasp all the facts but our notes sure can –Rather than relying on the meeting organizer to share the meeting minutes, keep a note of any important points discussed during the meeting. Even jotting down important keywords can prove very helpful and can save you lot of time later when you try to recall the important facts which were discussed in the meeting and your brain gives away.
- Documents are important and so is the folder structure –We start our job with a few key documents and slowly we end up in a pile of documents scattered all across our desk. Some in the Downloads folder, some on the Desktop and some still in the emails. To make the situation worse, we have tens of versions of each document with no way of determining which one is the latest. Maintain a good folder structure to store your documents. Refrain from using names like New Folder1 and use relevant name like Analysis, Requirements and so on. Also, maintain versions of the document whenever updating a document. Simplest way is appending the date at the end of each document name.
- Flagging is the key – Flag important emails and the ones you need to attend later. Also, delete any useless emails as they arrive. This will make your mailbox cleaner and save you lot of effort and time when looking for any emails.
- We all have repeatable tasks –Add calendar reminders for any repeatable tasks and save your brain cells for more important issues. Reminder will alert you right on time and make sure you never miss the task.
- Bombarded with lots of links and passwords? We have so many links and our browsers have all our passwords saved. We rely completely on the browser cookies and the Favorites menu, unless one day cookies are deleted and everything changes. Maintaining a list of important links and passwords in an excel can be a real life-saver.
- Never skip your meals –We all do it. When posed with deadlines, we forget to eat and drink and just stick to our desks. Basically, when our body needs more energy, we deprive it from the nutrients and we feel proud of being such hard-workers. Never do this. Take small breaks and don’t skip your meals. Seldom, when you return back from break, the solution might be right in front of your eyes.
Look outside the window or take a small walk. It helps incredibly.
- Large documentation at hand? Treat it as a project –Often we work on large documentation and start with the Table of contents or the elaborating a particular topic. Instead, start with brainstorming. Write down your ideas as they come in your mind. Expand them slowly and then organize them as needed. You can always beautify your document later.
- Turn off any distractions-This one is last in my list but I feel it is the most important one. How often does it happen that we are distracted by a Whatsapp alert when focusing on an important task? We have numerous Whatsapp groups and other social media platforms which keep buzzing throughout the day. Mute Whatsapp, close Facebook and open it when you are done with work.
Also, it serves as a delight and a welcome treat when you see it at the end of the day.
I believe, these tips not only stop us from being overwhelmed with the list of tasks at hand but also make us feel in control and ahead of any deadlines pressure. I have practiced them for years and they have always yielded wonderous results for me. Hope they work for you as well. 🙂
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