Manage your Day

We are constantly interrupted by notifications, breaking our concentration, derailing our trains of thought and so on, making it nearly impossible to get through our ToDo lists. More importantly, it prevents us from time to focus on important things.

There is some good news though – we are not totally powerless against this.

Let’s look at getting through your ToDo list.

  • Get rid of as many interruptions as possible. Turn off notifications from Facebook, Whatsapp and email. If you work in a system that requires immediate responses to email, you cannot do much about that, but you can still turn off your other notifications.
  • Don’t try and remember things – do what Tim Allen suggests and do a brain-dump. Write down everything you need to do.
  • Prioritize. All the tasks on your ToDo list are not equal. Figure out which is more important. (Like if not doing something will cause you trouble, it’s important) Then, more subtly and more importantly, what will have the biggest effect. In other words, do the things that cause a cascade of things to happen (domino effect). If you continue doing the things that cause the most dominoes to fall, you are certain to accomplish more.
    • If you have been using your ToDo list for a while, you will notice some tasks which are just sitting there, and they never seem urgent or important enough to allocate time to. Ask yourself – Am I ever going to do this? If your answer is ‘yes’, allocate some time and just start with one of them. If your answer is ‘no’, make a conscious decision not to do it and remove it from your ToDo list.
  • Delegate everything you possibly can.
  • Now you need to start working on your tasks, but if you have a list with dozens of items, it is daunting. So, rather think what you would like to have accomplished at the end of the day, and choose 3 to 5 items.
  • Budget your time! You only have a few hours to work in a day – don’t squander it.
    • Use a calendar and block off time for the tasks you decide on. This will alleviate the ‘I should be doing something else’-anxiety.
    • Decide how much time you want to spend on each task, and stick to it.
    • Take regular breaks. Use a pomodoro timer.
    • Interruptions! – They are going to happen whether you like it or not. Expect them and prepare for them in advance, and you will find them much less annoying.
  • At the end of your day, do a comparison between what you planned to do and what you actually did. This will enable you to plan the next day more efficiently.

To be continued…

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