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Time ManagerGetting Things Done
How would you rank your ability to get things done? Effective? Lousy? Maybe it's your strategy. Make a list, cull it to a reasonable number, focus on high-priority tasks, curb the interruptions - and reward yourself.
I've never spoken to someone who told me he or she did not have enough tasks on his or her To Do list. Most people are overwhelmed by the number of pending tasks that still have to be done.
Business professionals have reports to complete, meetings to attend, letters to write, decisions to make. Stay-at- home moms have to take the kids to school, make meals, check homework and maintain the house. Even teenagers in school have classes to attend, extracurricular activities to participate in, essays to write and papers to organize.
There's no doubt, there are a lot of things, on a lot of To Do lists. So, how do you go about getting things done? Here are 4 quick ideas:
1) Make a list and pick 3.
But even people who make To Do lists can still get overwhelmed. Matthew, a business professional from Omaha, Nebraska had a To Do list, but even the thought of it overwhelmed him. Instead of it being a helpful tool, just looking at his list was paralyzing.
I told Matthew that the more he avoided his list, the more the things that had to be done were going to grow. Instead, I relieved his frustration, by having him choose just 3 things from his list each day, and to focus on those before he started anything else.
After practicing this system for a few weeks, he discovered he no longer felt overwhelmed. Instead of seeing hundreds of things to do on his list, he was so relieved to know he had to pick ONLY 3 a day to actually start getting things done.
If you're having trouble getting things done, each night choose a total of 3 tasks you plan to work on the very next day--and get started on those 3 tasks as early as possible tomorrow.
Don't do anything else, until those 3 tasks are done. By the end of each week, you will have completed a minimum of 21 tasks. At the end of each month, you will have completed a minimum of 90 tasks!
2) Control your interruptions.
Jill, a financial analyst from Atlanta, Georgia, said she couldn't get things done because of all the interruptions-- people stopping by her office just to chat, her ringing phone, her computer indicating that incoming email had arrived. She SAID she hated interruptions. But I noticed that Jill always welcomed unexpected visitors, she always answered the ringing phone, and she checked her email the second her email indicator sounded.
In other words, she didn't hate interruptions at all. After all, people are rarely that enthusiastic about immediately doing things they hate to do.
Jill used those interruptions as an excuse so that she could say she was too busy to attend to her To Do list. The reason I knew this was because I had her sit in a quiet conference room to work on the tasks on her To Do list for a few hours, and she finally admitted that it was too quiet and the tasks she had to do were really boring.
Those interruptions as Jill first defined them, were actually welcomed breaks in her day.
Everyone needs a break during busy days. When you're busy working on a project, someone stopping by to chat for a few minutes may be a welcome break. But if you allow this to happen all day long, you're not going to accomplish too much on your To Do list.
The answer--instead of allowing interruptions to control you, you can actually control your interruptions.
Close your office door, let your voicemail field your calls, and get to work on your To Do list. After completing an item or two, then give yourself a break to call someone you wish to call, or to check your incoming email.
If you're trying to get something done at home, but the kids want you to play with them, send them away and work on one or two items. After completing those items, find the kids and play with them for 10 minutes.
If you control your interruptions, you'll get things done. Plus, you will have taken some relaxing and fun breaks throughout your day.
3) Don't just work on low priority tasks.
Very often, people choose the tasks they're going to work on based on the difficulty level. The easiest tasks often get done first no matter what the priority level, and the most difficult tasks often sit on the sidelines even if they're very high priority.
Gina, a junior in high school, had to write an essay for her history class and it was due in 2 weeks. She was not too happy about this because she viewed it as one of her more difficult assignments. For the entire two weeks, she concentrated on her quick and easy school assignments.
Instead, she should have been working on that essay for 10-15 minutes each day during that 2-week period.
To be sure you're working on your high priority tasks, when choosing your 3 To Do tasks each day, be sure you choose at least one that is a high priority task, no matter what the difficulty level is on that task. Even if you can't finish that high priority task in one day, even working on it for 15-30 minutes each day will ensure you're working towards its completion.
4) Sandwich rewards in between your tasks.
Tell yourself that as soon as you're finished with one task on today's To Do list, that you'll then indulge in one of your rewards. Then, do another task on your To Do list, and then enjoy another reward.
In essence, you're going to be sandwiching your rewards in between your tasks. For example:
Your day will be both productive, and enjoyable, at the same time.
Jack, an insurance agent from Minneapolis, Minnesota, used to work continuously all day, with no rewarding breaks in between. Each evening, he'd end the day feeling frustrated and overworked.
He began sandwiching rewards in between his tasks. His favorite rewards were taking reading breaks, and simply taking the time to sit back and rest his eyes for a few minutes. At the end of the day he was happy to have had a productive day, and he felt much more relaxed at the same time.
by Maria Gracia - Get Organized Now! http://www.getorganizednow.com FREE Get Organized Now! Idea-Pak and E-zine, filled with tips and ideas to help you organize your home, your office and your life, at the Get Organized Now! Web site.