1. Your “To Do” list
This is essential. Should be done first thing every day, with outstanding tasks separated into the following:
- Most Important, Most Urgent – DO FIRST
- Most Important, Not Urgent – DO NEXT
- Less Important, Most Urgent – DO LATER
- Less Important, Not Urgent – DON’T DO
2. Retain structure to your work day
Finish one task before starting another. Avoid the temptation to do part of a task and then return it to the pile. Quick wins can be good, but ensure you are not just delaying the more difficult and potentially more important tasks.
3. Regularly review your workload
Identify the tasks that always find themselves at the bottom of the pile – if possible, delegate. Set realistic deadlines – always better to under-promise and over-deliver.
4. Avoid interruptions
Don’t be a slave to your email inbox, allowing each incoming email to divert you. Allocate time to pick them all up in one go. Turn off “email alerts”. Prioritise your inbox according to importance and urgency and, if possible, deal with an email only once before saving it to a file. Identify the irrelevant ones from their title and delete without opening.
Set your phone to silent when you are busy. Then allocate time to deal with voicemails and missed calls.
5. Don’t forget to have a break
Don’t become the office bore. We all need a break now and then and we all need some human interaction. A good atmosphere in the office improves everyone’s productivity!