A day has 24 hours and an hour has only 60 minutes – these rules apply to all of us. However, our productivity, in both work and personal life, is widely varied. Surprisingly, not laziness is to be blamed here but something that you can easily improve – good organization. People, who are well-organized, are able to save some time on almost every little activity. Not convincing? When you sum this time up you can get up to few hours extra a day – to work more or simply relax (depends on your remuneration conditions and well, your attitude mainly!). Anyway, who of us wouldn’t like to have some extra time to use? So, don’t hesitate to invest a couple of minutes to see how easily you can save hours thanks to good planning and organization.
HOW TO SET YOUR GOALS?
Let me start with some basic information. I’d be happy to hear you’re already familiar with SMART concept of setting your objectives. I’d be even happier to know you apply it successfully to your life! For those, who don’t know what SMART means, I prepared a quick summary.
SMART is a clever idea of formulating goals in area of planning. Each letter of the word represents another feature of a properly set goal. By following these rules you can simplify a process of determining your objectives and also fulfilling them. So, how does a proper goal should look like?
- SIMPLE – easy to understand (also when you read it after a longer while) and explicit (no space for free interpretation – that’s essential to evaluate it properly).
- MEASUREABLE – likely to be evaluated and graded. Best way is to put your goals into numbers (get 10 leads a month, schedule 5 meetings a week) – than you can easily determine how far you are from total achievement. If numbers don’t apply to your objective, come up with alternative system that will help you to evaluate your progress.
- ACHIEVEABLE – corresponding with your potential, time and resources. Don’t make your goals overambitious – that will lead to constant frustration that you are behind and will decrease your motivation. On the other hand, don’t underestimate your capabilities just to have fun with crossing things off the list. Be honest!
- RELEVANT – important for your job, your development or contributing to other values you follow. Avoid setting objectives that you consider not important or not referring to what you care about. Even when you set your business goals (or execute your boss’s commands) try to make them relevant to your values. This will keep your motivation high.
- TIMELY DEFINED – put into time frames. You simply need a kicking date and – more importantly – a deadline. Otherwise you can fall into a trap of constant extension of a process and your results may become outdated.
PROPERLY FORMULATED GOAL IS A STARTING POINT OF SUCCESS!
HOW TO PLAN YOUR TASKS?
When you have your goals already established it’s right time to define your operational objectives. In other words: to plan your tasks. Each goal consists of smaller actions that can be scheduled and prioritize. Some of them are needful to begin with the others and they need to be located in a particular spot on a timeline, others are quite independent and can be done whenever you have a free moment. Below you can find a few tips how to plan your operations to avoid stress and smoothly strive for your goal.
- Keep it short but completed! While describing your tasks save just as much information as you need (enough to avoid checking a couple of other spots for important data – like address of the meeting, mobile number of a delivery man or number of the room where you give a presentation). However, don’t overload your plan with too many details. Apply a simple system of links to other tools you use.
- Consider all your assignments! When you arrange your new tasks within your day don’t forget to consider your daily obligations and some unpredictable duties you may urgently need to fulfil. That will keep you flexible and more immune to stress. If it turns out that, at the end of the day, you have some spare time you can simply start with another day list.
- Watch the time! While scheduling your tasks you need to pay attention to their duration. Always add some extra time for unpredictable events or delays – especially when actions are held outside the office. Make sure you have enough time between meetings to make it on time or eat something. Don’t make your schedule too tight! Also: keep all important numbers close, so – in case of unavoidable delay – you can quickly inform people.
- Catalogue your tasks! Simple marking like ‘to call’, ‘to mail’, to report’ will enable you to keep the order and adjust your plan to your preferences (are you more effective when you do the same thing few times in a row or you prefer to keep your plan more varied?). Don’t forget to consider the importance and urgency of your assignments. It is recommended to keep your marking system corresponding with your desk (your files names, organization of your documentation etc.) .
DON’T LOSE SIGHT OF YOUR GOALS
WHILE PLANNING YOUR OPERATIONS!
AND HOW TO FULFILL THEM?
- Watch the quality! Things that are done right take LESS time! You just don’t need to re-do them! (It also builds up your professional image).
- Control the progress! Regular evaluation helps you to detect mistakes quicker and repair them in time – before bigger damage is done. There is nothing worse than fulfil a task according
to a plan that actually leads to a failure!
- Don’t give up on unfinished tasks! Try to put aside only the assignments that are completed so you don’t need to get back to them anymore. However, be smart about striving for finalizing a job. In case you are dependent on somebody else’s action you just need to be patient. And get busy with another thing.
- Focus on less things at one time! Adjust your multitasking ambitions to your attention capacity. Don’t reach for quantity at the expense of quality.
- Be assertive! You need to know when to refuse some extra obligations. Be fair towards yourself and your colleagues – tell them honestly that you cannot help them or it will take long. Keep the balance between being a friendly helper and overworked patsy.
- Delegate your tasks! Remember that you don’t need to make everything on your own! Tame your perfectionism and let other people help you. Focus on what you do best and in what you are irreplaceable. Some other things can be took over by others in accordance with their competences. Internee can do some simple research, freelancer may take care of graphic materials and your colleague can support you with some mass mailing.
REGULAR EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK
IS ESSENTIAL TO REACH A GOAL!
Implementing a new system in your work routine always takes time and requires your effort. It can seem to you that you actually spend more time on planning and arranging things but it’s normal when you start. After a short while you can notice first effects and progressively strive for your productivity boom!
Don’t delay the start then!
Check out our Slideshare presentation below on
How to do more things in less time?