One of my favorite sayings is, “if you fail to plan — plan to fail!”
Being productive does not happen by accident. To be successful, you need to become a master at planning and managing your workday.
If you want to make positive changes in your workday, accomplish more and feel less stressed, the following steps are the blueprint to get you there.
The first step is to CREATE a plan that reflects your priorities. The best way to determine your work priorities is to list your job responsibilities in priority order. If necessary, review your job description and be sure to verify it with your supervisor. Many companies have not updated their job descriptions as often as necessary and your responsibilities may have changed. So, make sure you list any responsibilities that are not in your current job description. In addition, list any deadlines associated with each responsibility.
Next, PLAN a major portion of your day, leaving time for interruptions. One of the best ways to increase productivity and decrease stress, is to use a daily planner (paper or digital). The planner should include all of the following information: meetings, phone conferences, To-Do items, deadlines, etc. These items should directly relate to the responsibilities you outlined. While is it important to have a “plan” for each workday, it is counterproductive to schedule every minute of the day. Interruptions will happen, so build in time to handle and regroup from them. Another tip is to keep one planner to manage both your personal and professional responsibilities and schedules. It would be difficult to agree to stay late to work on a project if you’re not sure if your child had a sporting event that evening. Keeping everything in one planner will simplify life.
ATTACK the most important tasks when your energy level is high. Are you a morning person or do you work best in the afternoon? Everyone is different, so figure out what works best for you.
REVIEW your To-Do list and schedule for the day. To stay on track and be more productive, review your To-Do list and schedule when you first arrive at work, periodically during the day and at the end of each workday to prepare for the next day. Make adjustments when necessary to be sure you are focusing the majority of your workday on tasks that will produce results. Many people spend too much time on unimportant, easy tasks, rather than focusing on the more important result-producing ones.
Finally, WRAP up and prepare for tomorrow. Spend the last 15 minutes of the workday clearing off your desk, reviewing tomorrow’s schedule and moving any unfinished tasks to another more appropriate day’s To-Do list. There is nothing worse than leaving the office a cluttered mess after a stressful day only to find it glaring at you when you return the next morning. A few minutes today can make tomorrow run significantly smoother.
Implement the plan and you’ll see results not only in what you are able to accomplish, but in how you feel. Here’s to a happier, more productive you!
Look for more tips from Deb Cabral in the Times Telegram every Tuesday and on her websites decluttercoachdeb.com and dceffconsult.com. You can follow her on social media and watch her TV show “Organization Motivation!” at organizationmotivation.com.