How do you map out your workday? If you’re like most people, you jot down notes in a planner or on post-its with everything you need to accomplish throughout the day. Then, you check things off as you go, hoping to tackle them all but knowing that distractions will creep in, so you might not be able to get to everything.
Are You Jeopardizing Your Productivity?
The approach of sporadic list building and even more sporadic tackling of tasks puts you at risk of wasting time on the wrong things and stealing productivity. If you’re taking this approach, chances are you’re getting sucked into the common trap of distraction from things like email overload, social media, and administrative jobs.
Sound familiar? Here’s what you can do to restructure your days and reclaim your productivity.
Think Bite Sized
Before you write another item on your to-do list, take a step back and look at the big picture. What are your goals? What are you trying to ultimately accomplish?
With those big picture ideas in mind, start writing down the bite-sized tasks that you need to do to reach your goals. Don’t put them in your calendar yet. Just write them down. List out everything down to the last detail. Don’t be afraid to list too much. You can always take tasks away later. It’s better to have too much than to forget items that’ll inevitably sneak onto your todo list later putting you back at square one.
Then, with everything listed out, start prioritizing and planning. What needs to get done first? Second? What can wait until the bitter end?
Be Like Barbara
Barbara Cochran is one of the beloved sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank. She credits a lot of her success to her ability to make the most of each workday by meticulously scheduling her time.
Each morning, she looks over her to do list and assigns each task with either an A, B, or C.
A tasks are the most important and must get done first. Those, she says, are the ones that will make her money. She limits her days to only five of them, planning to tackle all of them during the morning hours when she’s most productive.
Take a cue from Barbara and try structuring your to do list in this manner, so you’re sure you don’t waste any time on tasks that don’t drive you toward your end goals.
With your most important tasks listed out and your priorities in place, it’s time to set your schedule. Use technology to plan out your days, so you can tackle your A tasks early on (or during your personal most productive hours) and get the things that’ll move you closer to your goal accomplished.
A scheduling app is ideal for this. Barbara Cochran, for example, could block off her mornings to ensure no meetings are scheduled during the time period where she needs to work on the jobs that’ll bring her the most money. By publicizing your schedule through an app, you can be sure you remain uninterrupted and productive.
Stop Wasting Time
It’s easy to get distracted by administrative tasks, email, and social media. To keep yourself on task, plan out your projects and your workdays. Then, schedule off blocks of time so you’re sure you have everything you need to focus and produce.
Author Profile Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a software marketing company specializing in employee scheduling software, including ScheduleBase employee scheduling software, and other business software solutions. In the past, Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. Atlas Business Solutions was named as one of Software Magazine’s Top 500 Software Companies in 2004 through 2007 and again in 2010, 2013 and 2014.