One of my resolutions was to be more organised and make better use of my time (easier said than done).
I am the type of person who goes through phases of being super-organised and phases of complete pandemonium.
However, when I do try to get organised, I try to follow some simple steps that help keep me on track.
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So if you have an encroaching deadline or just want be more organised, here are my five top tips for getting organised and being super-productive.
1. Keep it simple
Believe me, you don’t have to be the king of post-it notes and colour co-ordination to be organised. The key is to find a system that works for you.
For me, this has three components. My diary, my note pad and my “to-do” list. Boring, I know, but trust me – the simpler the better in my view.
I use my diary for planning my movements, my note pad for meeting notes and my “to-do” list for actions and deadlines.
You really don’t need to overcomplicate it – in fact, if you try too hard you’ll spend more time fettling your fancy new system than actually benefitting from it.
Get yourself into a routine. Sorry to sound like a personal trainer, but this makes everything so much easier.
A routine will allow your day-to-day activities to feel like the norm, even if you have a lot of work to get through.
When you need to be motivated, a routine helps massively because it requires less mental effort to keep focused.
But don’t worry, a routine doesn’t need to be everyday to work, just make sure you follow it when you need to.
3. Distraction task
When you are starting to lose focus, caffeine and concentration music will only go so far. I find that it is actually much better to stop, take a quick break and start fresh.
A simple “distraction task” will help to clear your mind. This can literally be anything from making a brew, cleaning your room or office or even just putting a load of washing on.
What this allows you to do is refocus once you start working again, and this can even work better than regular breaks.
Honestly, you’ll be amazed how 10 minutes doing something else can help you come back and be twice as productive.
4. Worship your to-do list
My to-do list is my bible. Every morning I rewrite the list and this helps me visualise what needs to get done.
The list doesn’t have to be all completed in one day – quite the contrary, it just makes sure you don’t lose track of anything important.
And if there is still stuff on there at the end of the day, it simply gets transferred on to the new list for tomorrow.
If you like, add deadlines to your list to help prioritise, but the key is to just keep it up to date.
5. Be realistic
You need to understand what is actually achievable to get done in the space of a day. If you try to cram too much in, you won’t stay productive.
If you can prioritise well then you can figure out what order you need to complete tasks in, and then you can decide what you are going to get done today.
And crucially, if you know you can’t fit something in, either say no or at least substitute it out for something else.
At the end of the day, if what you want to get done looks unachievable, you have started off on the wrong foot.