10 Ways to Rock Your Workday
So most of you guys don't know this, but blogging isn't my only job.
I also spend my days as a property manager for my dad, accounts and admin girl for Dan, and the go-to GST girl for about 10 different entities. There's a running joke in the office that I need a spinning job-title sign on my desk - so everyone knows what role I'm in that day! And it certainly makes it interesting when people ask me what I do :)
Now I know I'm incredibly lucky and I really do enjoy it all, but the workload can get pretty big at times; especially as all this has to happen while Missy's at school. So I've become an absolute master at getting stuff done fast, and making the most of my workday.
So here are my 10 tips for really rocking your workday and getting through stuff. These tips will work for anyone - I do many of the same things whether I'm cleaning the house or reconciling accounts.
1. DEFINE YOUR TIME
Work out what you're doing and when. Pick a project and focus on that, don't bounce between things - you'll just end up faffing around and getting nothing really meaningful done. On Mondays I reconcile accounts, and on Wednesday mornings I pay accounts. Period. For home stuff, I do grocery shopping on Mondays, and laundry on Saturdays. A simple plan like this will give you a clear starting point each day and you will instantly become more effective because you're focused.
2. ONLY SCHEDULE HALF YOUR TIME
If you have smaller jobs to do and schedule your day in time blocks, only schedule half of it. Every job has a bunch of unexpected things happen each day - unexpected phone calls, urgent tasks, troubleshooting - and many projects can end up taking a lot longer than you thought. Just yesterday I had to update some credit card details for a subscription - it should've taken 5 minutes but it took over an hour. Stuff like this is so frustrating, but it will happen, and if you don't allow for it, your whole day can be thrown out.
3. MAKE TWO LISTS
One for now, and one for later. On the Now list, put only stuff that you can do now. Keep it focused (see number one above), and make those items easy and incremental - you'll find yourself completing it rather than procrastinating, and the more you do, the more momentum you'll get. Put everything else on the Later list and deal with that after you're finished.
4. GET RID OF DISTRACTIONS
Get rid of as many distractions as you can - don't go on social media, don't reply to that message, and don't get caught researching for hours (somehow 'researching' always ends up on Buzzfeed...). Focus on what you're doing, and do it. Then do all that stuff when you're finished - even add it to your Later list!
Obviously I don't do this in the office, but get those headphones out and play something upbeat! It's great for tuning out (bad pun, sorry) and focusing on the task at hand, and if it's relatively energetic, you'll find yourself working faster :) Today I've been writing to the sounds of Alle Farben and Lemaitre and it's just been awesome - this post has come together waaay quicker than normal. So give it a try!
6. BATCH TASKS
Got five calls to make? Five baskets of laundry to fold? Do them all at once - batch them together and do it in one go and you'll save time. This is also true if you have appointments - either having people come in to see you, or going to your own - if you can batch them together and do them back to back, you'll be focused, and you can then get some work done later without distraction.
7. KEEP IT SIMPLE
Good enough is good enough, and done is better than perfect. Spending an hour finding the perfect font for that report is a waste of time (unless you're a designer :). Just the other day, our accountant actually told me my spreadsheets were some of the prettiest he'd ever seen - Calibri people. Calibri and I switched off the gridlines. That's it! As long as it's clear, and easy to read, it's perfect - and no one will care whether it's in Arial or Trebuchet. Same goes for home. I could spend ages making a perfect Beef Wellington for dinner, but would they love it? In all honesty, they probably wouldn't care. But a simple roast I just throw in the oven? It's their first choice every single time.
8. DON'T GET OVERWHELMED
Most of the time we get distracted during a task that's hard or overwhelming. We procrastinate because we don't know what to do next, or we just don't want to. We all have things to do that absolutely suck... but we still have to do them. So if you find yourself in this situation, just break it down into more manageable steps and do one at a time. One little thing at a time, and you'll be done before you know it.
9. TAKE A BREAK
Focus until you feel you need a break. There's generally a natural pause in your work - finishing a big batch of tasks is a good example, and you'll naturally need to take five. I often find this happens when I get stuck and need to think about how I'm going to solve a problem. I'll go and make a coffee, come back and see the solution straight away. If you need a break, take one - it's good for you to clear your head.
10. PLAN FOR TOMORROW
At the end of the day is the perfect time to get a handle on what you need to do tomorrow. Define your time, check your schedule, go through your lists and write some new ones (points one to three above). In the morning, you'll be able to dive right in and start the day organized and focused on what you need to achieve. It's the perfect way to start a productive day!
So there we go!
I use these methods everyday to help me get through everything, and I hope they help you get stuff done too.
If you're looking for more posts on getting organized, just scroll down to the suggested posts below - and don't forget to sign up to my newsletter along the way :)
All the best,