I’m writing this 10 days after I was supposed to post it. (“5 at 5” means five things posted or shared on the 5th day of each month.) On the 5th, I left the office with more than 1,100 emails in my in box, 7 voice mails, 3 months of reports to be compiled, and a report for the Chamber left undone. How can I even leave and enjoy the weekend with no sense of accomplishment!? Let alone be prepared for the 950 things next week!? 950?
Liz Davenport says the average businessperson receives 190 pieces of information each day. (and that was in 2001. I’m sure it’s increased! Plus I wonder if that includes the spams for Russian women and Dr. Oz pills or not!?) AskMen.com stated it clearly, “the world is moving fast and it’s only getting faster. So much technology. So much information. So much to understand, to think about, to react to. Never before has it been so important to be grounded and intentional and to know what’s important.”
Another emphasized “if you don’t have a system in place for getting things done, you’re likely losing a lot of productive time to repetitiveness and inefficiency.”
Add to those 190 pieces the fact that “the average businessperson wastes 150 hours each year looking for stuff. Add 10 more hours and that is an entire work month!” Think about this “if you got organized, you could have an extra month each year! Just think how much more you could accomplish (or how much vacation you could have) if you got organized. You could take a three-day weekend every other week and still do as much as you are doing now – or more!”
So there’s got to be help out there. Search the internet for ‘organization’, you get 264 million results! ‘Organization at work’ narrows it down to 136 million. ‘Getting things done’ down to 55 million. Just look for a book… Search Amazon and 108,000 suggestions appear for ‘organization at work’. Time management, productivity, manage your schedule, reclaim that desk, organize your week, eat that frog!
There are 10 tricks, 13 steps, and 50 tips. I found the 5 second rule on YouTube. Oddly it took 3:45 seconds to explain the 5 second rule which is “Count to five and do the task.”
Maybe friends have suggestions. I asked Facebook friends for their tips. To-do lists was the repeated answer. My sister posted, “(I) read once to categorize the day’s ‘to-do’ list into 3 categories: like easy, medium, hard or must-do, like-to-do, and won’t-die-if-waits-until-tomorrow. That way each day you get to check off lots of ‘done’ things -feeling good- and have manageable expectations for what you have to do and can do. It really works for me. The tomorrow list makes me look far in advance and as things move up to the today’s category, I can track my time requirements.”
Amanda’s variation on that is to “block off time on (her) calendar for hot or time intensive projects; group a bunch of small tasks to tackle in one sitting–makes you feel really accomplished when you cross them off!”
Nichole keeps a small white board on her desk l for daily to do’s, that way she gets to erase the line when it is done.
Here are additional tips on the to-do list:
— Create a daily to-do list at the start or end of each day. Make sure it contains single-step tasks, not projects. “Call Bob” is a to-do. “Develop Marketing Plan” is a project.
— Keep a master project list (“Develop Marketing Plan”) but have the to-do list made up of all multi-step tasks you want or need to do. In other words, make your to-do list pebbles. Break it into tiny pieces of the mountainous job writing down only tasks you can accomplish in 24 hours. “File my taxes” vs. “get my receipts out and put them on the table.”
— Run An Assessment – does every item on the to-do list deserve to be on the list?
— Focus on Value and Outcome – identify the true value of the task. Is it really worth it? What will you get by completing it? Focus on outcome not on the task its-self. If you’re really truly passionate about the task, then the result should inspire and motivate you to get it done.
— In prioritizing, ask who’s task is on your list? Are we prioritizing other people’s most important tasks or ours? Additionally we may set ourselves tasks that we don’t really believe in and that have little value to us and then wonder why we never end up getting those things done!
— Write down your to-do’s as soon as they pop into your head. Keep small note pads and pens handy — in your office, briefcase, wallet, and purse. Regularly collect the pages from your note pads and add them to your to-do list or master project list.
It’s that last part that I miss! I wind up with stacks of pages from 5×7 legal pads, sticky notes and napkins with to-dos written all over them!
What are your tips? Comment below. This subject will continue in future posts… more on getting things done in subsequent months.
Thanks for reading!