How to achieve better productivity in a busy office.
It’s 1.20pm as I write those words and I am done for the day.
All my work is completed and I can focus on what I really like, my hobbies. Of course I am still in the office, a phone will ring eventually and I will check my email at 3pm (see my post about it here) but that’s OK. All I have planned to do today I already achieved.
There is something wonderful about seeing an empty to do list. It feels like as if someone patted you on the back saying well done. It also gives you a sense of freedom. No task is hanging above your head, nothing. Everything is done and you can simply relax.
But in reality it’s probably not that common for business people to experience this. Definitely it wasn’t for me only a few months ago. Everyday I would have tasks I didn’t finish on the day. I would either carry them over to the next day or even worse, bring work home with me. And it all was caused by a simple thing, a chaos in my work day. The worst of it was that for a long time I considered this an absolutely normal situation.
Since then though I implemented a simple method to improve my productivity. I started grouping my tasks into categories, a typical activities I would do during the day and work on one category at a time. This way I do not have to switch from one activity, such as making phone calls to another, writing proposals for instance. I focus on working on tasks from one category until they are done and only then move to another activity.
My setup is really simple but of course yours may be more complicated.
I group my tasks into 4 categories only, Most Important Tasks, Calls, Emails and Errands. I try not to have more than 3 items in each category although this obviously is difficult to keep. Your set up could be completely different but the key here is to identify no more than 4-5 key activities you do and group your tasks into them.
My Most Important Tasks or MIT’s as they are also called (read more about them here) are up to three things I have to accomplish today, no matter what. Whether it’s a natural disaster or the four riders of the apocalypse are riding out again I have to have those tasks done. And I always start my day from working on them.
Once they are done I simply move to another group on the list. I either make all the calls planned for the day, write all the emails or work on my errands (including all my writing, proposals and little things I need to get done).
Very quickly after I started working this way I discovered that tasks are much easier to be completed if you work on them in a right state of mind. And this is only possible if you do not shift from one activity to the other all the time but focus on one but fully. A well known fact is that once you get into the right state of mind your work gets done quicker and very often to a better results.
And that’s how in reality this system works. Now, I didn’t come up with this system myself to be fair. The day I started implementing it though everything changed for me. My workday turned from a complete chaos to an organized, relaxed and much shorter one. And isn’t that what many business people want?
Published in: Personal Organization