I’ve been trying to become more organized at work as my workload has increased.
Before, I had a to-do list that I’d create at the start of the week. I’d slowly work through it, ticking off things as I went. Every time I did, I felt accomplished.
However, not everything would always get done. I’d push something off because I didn’t want to do it, and then Friday would arrive without me having completed it. I’d find other things to do or get distracted by email. Slowly, things would compound and I no longer felt efficient. I knew something needed to change.
So, over the past couple of months I’ve converted to a new way of task/time management. Every day around 4:30 p.m. I pull up my Google Calendar and plan out hour by hour the next day. Whenever something pops up during the week, I immediately go to my Google Calendar and find a time in the next couple of days to accomplish the task. I note it and then forget about it until it appears on the calendar.
From 8 to 9 a.m. I check my email and take care of tasks to get my day started. Meetings are blocked off. I’ve jotted down when I’m going to write or reach out to people. I’ve even made time for brainstorming. Now, I don’t follow it exactly every day. I usually leave room to account for things not going quite as planned. There’s stuff that pops up I need to take care of immediately, or I will switch items around on the list. I’ve even started scheduling things out in my personal life, from tasks I need to do in the evening or when I’m going to workout.
With this new strategy, I feel like I’m tackling each day more effectively and efficiently. It’s given me a clear vision of what my 24 hours looks like, helping me to make decisions that will in turn help me achieve the goals and tasks I’ve set out to do. I don’t just pick “What does Heather feel like doing today?” I listen to my calendar and obey what it says — adjusting when needed, of course, because not being flexible can be a detriment.
Now, I know your days fluctuate, campus rec professional. There’s a lot going on in that campus rec center of yours. But I invite you to try for two weeks planning everything. Each day, take 30 minutes to look at tomorrow. Think about what you have to do and plan out when you’re going to do it. Even write down when you’re going to eat or call your friend.
Or if you already do this well, what tools are you using? I love Google Calendar; what do you love? Share below so we can all stay organized and efficient with our time. We have so many tools at our fingertips; let’s use some of them!
Great article Heather. It sounds like you are using some of the GTD principles.
Get it out of your head and into a system where it can be worked on.
I work with http://www.Zenkit.com (we built it). It’s an easy task/project manager that uses both lists,tables and Kanban to help you organize your day.