1) Make a to do list
This seems extremely obvious, but you would be amazed how many people do not write down every task that they have. Go out and buy an A4 note pad and dedicate an entire page to each working day, making sure to include the date and day of the week at the top of the page. Bullet-point the tasks that you have to accomplish in that day. Make sure that, if a task comes in for a later date, you flip to that date and note the task down.
When you complete a task, put a line through it. If the task requires a follow up, make a note at a future date to do so. Finally, if by the end of the day you have not completed all of the tasks that you have set yourself, move the incomplete tasks to the following day, and start the process over!
2) Focus on one task at a time
Don’t juggle between tasks. Make sure to focus on a single task at a time. If you are in the middle of a task and you get an email or a prompt to begin another task, make a note in your to do list that this new task is ready for action, and then complete your previous task before taking action.
Common sense does need to be applied to this. If the interrupting task is high priority and must be handled then and there, then make sure to do so.
3) Close down your Facebook account
This will not be the most popular suggestion but close down your Facebook and block any websites that distract you. You will quickly see how much more productive your day becomes!
4) Relax on the weekends
You will be must more productive during the week if you are refreshed and stress free. Spend the weekend relaxing, not working or worrying about the week ahead.
Go on a run outside, get plenty of rest, don’t go out or get drunk, meditate or practice yoga, or simply get stuck into a good, easy-reading book. Eat healthily and don’t spend hours watching the television or surfing the Internet. The trick is to not expose yourself to endless sources of stimulation, which will frazzle your brain and not allow you to sink into a deep sense of relaxation and calm.
Endless studies have shown that we work much more efficiently when we are relaxed, so try it out for yourself!
5) Get help
It is quite possible that, even after completing the aforementioned steps, you still have a stack of paper work/ errands and simply not enough time to complete them in.
If this is the case then it really is time to take decisive action. If you have a boss, speak to them, explaining the steps that you have already taken to keep on top of things, but that you simply feel overburdened. Perhaps he or she can designate some of the tasks to co-workers?
If you are your own boss, or if you simply want to handle your surplus without bothering your boss, then it is time to consider outside help. Consider hiring a Personal Assistant for a few hours to help you sift through your workload or run your additional errands.
A London PA firm called Exec Runs specializes in hourly PA’s at affordable rates, but there are many options out there that should be explored.
This guest post is courtesy Maria Gordon for Exec Runs.