In today’s world, it is sometimes quite challenging to remain productive with so much available to us constantly and sometimes instantly! This is a double-edged sword in that we can do more than ever before from virtually anywhere thanks to the internet and smartphones; however that also ends up making everyone quite busy, especially business owners! Wherever and however you work, a mess (even an internal/personal one) will only get in your way and force you into choosing between “haste” and “waste” in the long run. From the room and desk to the computer and the internet as well as your own self in the way of goals, attitude, mindset, setbacks, etc.
1. Get Organized – Consider all of your current responsibilities, problems, needs, AND your tools and/or resources in the physical, personal, digital, and internet regards and then you are ready for the next step…
2. Keep A List (or 4) – Personally, I keep lists for almost everything from my current list of website design clients and business projects to my personal and business to-do items. I use Google Documents between my PC, laptop, and cell phone, an amazing app and program called Todoist, and good ole fashioned paper notebooks in a color coded variety based on business and type. You will have to consider and research your own methods and systems based on you and your life as well as your job or career. Protip: At the end of every day and at the start of every day, I write my lists out in color coded notebooks and leave them right on my desk or keyboard with my PC screen open to my Todoist tasks and emails.
Examples of some to-do lists would be; “Do Today”, “Do Tomorrow”, “Do This Week”, “Do ASAP” for things like paying an overdue bill, “Waiting On” for things that are held up outside of your direct control, and a list for “Need To Buy”, “Do When I Can” as well as “Do Or Don’t” or “Might Do”.
3. Prioritize your life – Make your lists and then take your “need to do” items and prioritize them. You do not need to start with the most important or problematic, but just make sure that you eventually DO put things in a prioritized order by the end of making your lists. Most people base their to-do lists off of time in the way of days, weeks, months, etc. which works best for almost everyone. From there you can also break it down by personal, business, job/gig, etc. Remember, the key to prioritization is nearly constant attention to what you are doing and not getting done, things that happen while doing a task, and new things come up randomly as that is life’s greatest joy. Always remember to Improvise, adapt, and overcome!
4. Set Time Limits and Deadlines – Once you have your lists of items to get done however you have them, you can get a better idea of what it might take you to get certain things or groups of things done. It is always best to try and loosely plan ahead but most importantly to set time “caps” and deadlines. You can have a million tasks but not a million hours or days. Before you start any task, think about what amount of time it will take you and what time it is when you start. If you pay attention or set an alarm to alert you to the end of that amount of time you thought it may take you, you can choose whether the task is worth continuing right then or if other tasks you need to do are more important meaning it might be a good idea to move forward to another task and come back to what you were doing another time.
5. Keep Track of Your Time – I keep task and hour logs as well as work and project journals which is one way to do it. In today’s world, you can do quite a bit with just your phone and the internet and there are many ways to track everything you do on your phone, computer, and your accounts for certain apps and sites.
6. Set Reminders – This is pretty important. Do not leave things up to your memory when it comes to any of this, that is the first point of weakness between you and efficiency, organization, and productivity. If you don’t remember to do something that is important, you may not have any knowledge or reminder of something critical slipping out of your grasp and right by a deadline. Protip: Being lazy is much harder when you get a reminder about something you put off previously!
7. Pay Attention – If you know what you need to do and have prioritized it and also what you have already done, then it will be much easier to see where you have inefficiencies or issues in your organization whether it is your personal or business life. I use internet and phone automation to automatically log everything I do on my computer and phone so I can look back and see what I have wasted time on or how long things actually took compared to what I thought they would.
Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up – This is not always easy or straight-forward to accomplish in any regard and it is almost certainly not a quick and painless process. In the end, it was one of the most difficult things I have ever tried to do, learn, or teach myself and caused me much self reflection and realizations as well as growth. Never fret as tomorrow is a new set of 24 hours in which to plan ahead for and the best way to predict the future is to invent it!
1) Even in failure comes experience/knowledge, so you can never really lose or fail in a real way
2) Fortitudine Vincimus; By Endurance We Conquer
Give all of this some thought or a try and see how it works out for you! Leave a comment below if you have any thoughts, questions, or suggestions.