All disorganized people always wonder why others can make use of every moment of their day. Maybe they have a time machine or something like that? Actually, they don’t. Instead, they have time management skills and know how to control their schedule (well, at least, they have one). If you want to know how to master the art of being organized, then start using the tips we have listed below.
Create a to-do list
All significant goals should be divided into smaller chunks to become more manageable. It is much easier to complete a large project when you gradually move step by step. If you create a to-do list for every project you are working on, splitting it into pieces, the steps will seem more measurable to you. Therefore, you will easily plan your time.
Aside from planning, to-do lists will help you stay focused and motivate you to evaluate your current achievements and the amount of work that remains. Be ready that you will face the interruptions from time to time and your plans may change. If some of these interruptions stop you from accomplishing the task, make sure to come back later. Never abandon the tasks you have already started.
Also, you have to realize how much time you devote to one or another daily task and correct it if needed. Where your time goes? Sometimes, you think that you spend significantly less time on routine tasks like checking your inbox. However, in the reality, this might steal more than an hour of your precious time every day.
One of the best options is to download an application like Google Calendar or Toggl. This is a good idea for professional writers who work as freelancers. If you have a lot of work to do, you can make a notification for each of them and therefore your chances to meet the deadlines will be higher. Also, the applications for time management will help you find out which activities are eating your time. Being aware of that, you will do the corrections easily.
Set the limits
If your main enemies are distraction and procrastination, then setting the time limits for every task will help. It means that you give yourself an appropriate amount of time for a particular task. For example, you want to write an article in two hours. Then you start at 10 am and finish at 12 am. Keep the limits in your mind and this will help you stay concentrated.
Make sure to include the additional time between tasks to let you still work on them if you cannot complete something timely. This will save your reserved time.
If you wake up without having a clear plan, then your day is lost. When you have no idea what exactly you should do, then you will end up wandering pointlessly and do less important things. Therefore, you should have a plan in your head every morning. There are two simple techniques to do it:
1) The evening before
Spend the last 10 minutes of your working day to plan your tomorrow’s important tasks;
2) The early morning
When you wake up in the morning, write down a couple of the most urgent things you should do this day and your activity will be more productive for sure.
Assign your tasks to others
Some people find it difficult to assign their work to others, especially if they have never done it before. Also, you might have a lack of time to explain the task to someone else or to train them to complete it successfully.
However, assigning your tasks to others and having a couple of potential helpers can be a real time saver for you. This will make your workload lighter and you will have more time for important tasks. Or at least you will have time to rest on your sofa. You can hand over the tasks to the members of your team or find a professional freelance worker. Even if you decide to train someone, the time you invest will be totally worth it in the future.
Start your day with the most complicated and important tasks
There are reasons to start your day with the most challenging tasks. First, you have more energy in the morning, therefore it is much easier to do the work when you are not tired. Also, the feeling of small accomplishment will help you move further and spend the rest of the day effectively.
Learn to stop your impulses
It is natural that you are always balancing between something you should be doing and something that the outer world is bombarding you with. The easiest example is the social interactions like messages and calls that won’t stop disturbing you while you are trying to work. Being fully engaged in one task without any distractions is a rare thing. Here is a couple of examples you might be familiar with:
- You are working on your new blog post but keep checking your Facebook page for no reason;
- You are writing a report, but suddenly start watching a YouTube video because your friend has sent you a link;
- You are trying to solve a problem with your team member, but your mind is wandering to your inbox.
It doesn’t matter how exactly you appear in this trap, the outcome never changes: you cannot concentrate and devote your attention to the task in front of you. Therefore, you miss the deadlines or need more time to cope with your work.
One of the best moves you can make here is blocking everything that is not related to the project at hand. When you have a task, make sure to focus on it and leave your interactions till you are finished. It is okay to eliminate distractions while you work and call back or answer a message later.
Eliminating distractions is something that always works and helps you to go deeper in your work avoiding noncontiguous sessions.
It’s okay to refuse
Most people are afraid to upset others. However, if you cannot handle the amount of work you already have, you shouldn’t take even more. If you do, this will end up with a low-quality result or your over-fatigue. We bet that both outcomes are not an option for you.
Help people and take additional work only when you have spare time.
Abandon your perfectionism
Remember that things will never be good enough until you are a perfectionist. This character trait can have different impacts on your activity. Some people suffer from being perfectionists but still move on and desperately try to become better. However, the others simply go back all the time, redo the task over and over again, and stuck with it for days. As you can guess, the results of such approach cannot be called productive.
The thing you should realize is that perfection doesn’t exist. It is great to do your best and try hard, so continue doing so and move on. Forget about making things ideal.
Don’t sit back and do nothing when you are waiting
It is obvious that people don’t like waiting because they feel that this time could be spent much better. Whether you are annoyed of waiting or not, we recommend you to find something you can do instead of wasting these precious minutes (or hours). The best practice is to have a book with you all the time and read it when you are in a waiting room or elsewhere. If you don’t want to carry books with you, then listen to podcasts/interviews on your phone or MP3 player.
So, becoming more organized is easier than you thought. Sometimes you just have to plan your activity better and get rid of distractions and sometimes you should slow down and delegate your work to other people. Follow these tips and you will learn to produce more value instead of fussing around.