Know your priorities and have a plan
We’ve all had those days when it feels like you are fruitlessly paddling against the tide. No matter how quickly you try to do things more and more keeps coming in. In a busy workplace, time management is crucial to success.
The first step, before you do anything else, is to identify your priorities. If you don’t know what’s important both for that day and the longer term, how can you know where to put your attention? Start by making a list of everything you need to do. This isn’t necessarily what you’re going to do today (we’ll come to that later) this is about looking at the different projects you have a stake in or things that fall under your scope in any given quarter.
With your list in hand, categorize everything into three groups: urgent, important and nice to have/do. Anything in the first/urgent group are those tasks that require immediate attention. Important tasks are those that contribute to the long-term success of your business, but you have some time to get to them. The nice-to-haves are exactly that and if you’re too busy should be delegated or eliminated.
Now that you have your priorities sorted, it’s time to plan your day. A daily plan is going to help you stay on track and avoid distractions. Take the items from your urgent column and look at what needs to be done that day. Put that at the top of your plan. If you have multiple things, weigh up things like impact to decide what order to do them. After you’ve done that, add the other tasks following a similar process. Make sure you’re scheduling enough time for important tasks first, before moving on to less important ones.
Try not to spend too much time creating your plan. Over time, you’ll find a rhythm that works for you. Having a plan in place will help you feel more in control, which can reduce stress and increase productivity. Remember to keep your plan flexible. Emergencies may arise and it's important to be able to adjust your plan accordingly.
Tech is your friend
It can often feel like there are more and more apps out there for everything we do in our lives. From scheduling a meeting with friends to your favorite supermarket, how do you even start to work out what ones you need and which ones you don’t?
The key takeaway you should look to ask yourself is - does this make my life easier? If it doesn’t then why are you using it? In a busy workplace, there are a few that we think can help:
A ticketing system. Look for something that helps you break down projects into manageable chunks that you can assign to members of your team. You can manage your workload more effectively, make sure things are delivered on time and have regular check-ins with the team to make sure things stay on track.
A scheduling tool. A scheduling app for business like Doodle is key to taking back control of your day. For instance Booking Page lets you set your availability and share it with a single link. This means if anyone has to book time with you all you do is send the link and they pick a slot that works for them. Simple. Removing the email back and forth lets you focus on more important tasks.
A time-wasting app. This is something that runs in the background of your computer and tracks how you spend your time. On a weekly or daily basis, it can produce a report to let you know what websites/activities you spend the most time on. You can then adjust your habits accordingly to increase productivity.