Managing your work schedule is about as much fun as cleaning out your freezer. You know it’s the right thing to do, you just wish it were a tad more scintillating.
So here is my guide to making your work schedule more manageable, more productive. And perhaps most importantly for your self esteem, allow you to go home feeling like you actually accomplished something all day.
Here are the 4 golden rules of managing your time at work:
1) Manage your interruptions – which means no social media sitting over your shoulder like an overgrown parrot..
#goodbye #Facebook #Twitter #instagram #keepin my job #productive
While you are becoming a killjoy, go ahead and switch off the pinging sound of the incoming emails too. Our brains become swiss cheese when we are constantly shifting our focus. I mean seriously, how can you get a full hours work done with interruptions every 17 seconds? You do the math.
If you have become a social media junkie and can’t go cold turkey, go ahead and turn your vices into virtues and allow yourself a 10 min ‘recess’ for the last 10 minutes of every hour. After a while, challenge yourself to a break every 2 hours, until you are only checking social media at lunch.
2) Give yourself a daily schedule–
You know the rhythm of your day and week, so go ahead and write it down, so you don’t forget the small stuff when the big jobs come flying your way. You may tell me that it’s so simple you ‘know it in your head’ – and that’s my point exactly – I don’t want it in your head – I want it on paper so creative and fun ideas can pop into your head.
Here’s a sample – keep it as simple as you can and print it out and put it near your desk – we don’t want it in some folder gathering dust or on some online passworded vault never to see the light of day. Notice the schedule isn’t minute by minute, this allows for more of an organic workflow.
This daily schedule is for a lady who works in a start up with 10 employees and is the responsible for answering phones, email, bookkeeping, payroll, PR and office managing (and most likely quite a few other secretarial jobs that don’t fit neatly into her neat job description).
The table below is a glimpse into her life on Tuesdays.
Execute the tasks from yesterdays task list.
Send out invoices from previous week.
Check incoming mail and email
Week 1 Inventory & order office supplies
Week 2 Order stamps
Week 3 Inventory & order kitchen supplies
11 – 1pm
Research new branding ideas from sources A,B,C
Have standing 5 minute meeting with 2 staff members to ask what the company can do to make things work easier for them.
Week 1 Confirm details for bimonthly car cleaning service for employees
Lunch & power walk
2 – 4pm
Prepare task list for tomorrow and clear desk area
3) Create a check list
It is quite redeeming to have a schedule in place. Good job. The next gift you can give to yourself is a check list of items that you personally have a tendency to forget. These lists take a little while to create and are best created by writing down the items that we really do forget, the idea being that once they slip through the crack once, you have a default mechanism in place to ensure it doesn’t become a habit.
Here is a sample list :
Did I leave any emails in draft form?
Have I returned all phone calls?
Do I need to order anything today for upcoming meetings?
Is there anyone who called in sick that I haven’t personally contacted?
Is there a deadline I might want to check?
Don’t laugh. What may look petty to you, could actually be a sanity (and job!) saver for someone else.
4) Never leave work without making your focus list for the next day.
Your focus list is the cream of the crop, the icing on the cake, the 20% ( of the 80/20 rule) that ensures your productivity. By writing down the 8-10 items you must get done tomorrow, you will leverage your productivity big time. This employee gives herself an hour to complete them and allots approximately 5 minutes per task.
Do what works for you. By focusing on the big stuff early on in the day while you are somewhat refreshed and medium-ly caffeinated, your productivity will start hitting new highs. Combine that fabulousness with a daily schedule and systemizing the more mundane parts of your job and you are well on your way to productivity gold club membership.