Time is one thing that you cannot buy more of. No matter how much money you have you cannot stretch the day beyond 24 hours.
How often have you said to yourself:
⁃I wish there were more hours in the day
⁃ Why aren't there more days in the week?
Sometimes it seems that there is just too much to do each day.
⁃ Do you lead a hectic busy life?
⁃ Do you arrive at the end of the day to find that you still have lots that needs doing?
⁃ Do you feel overwhelmed and stressed by your work load?
⁃ Are you bad tempered at the end of the day and how does that affect your relationships?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions then you definitely need strategies to cope with your work load. How on earth do you organize yourself so that you get more things done and feel more relaxed? Here are 10 tips to help you organize your life and get more done:
Tip 1: Do one thing at a time
Concentrate on only what needs doing right now.
As a general rule, you cannot do two actions at the same time. Simply relax and only focus on that one action that you are doing now. Put all other actions on a list. Forget about the 99 other actions that need doing.
When you have finished one action cross it off the list and then move onto the next action.
Some actions are more urgent than others. I only classify my actions according to two priorities: Next and Later. Next actions are those that need my attention today, and later actions can be done tomorrow or later. When my next actions have been completed, I then change some of my later actions into next actions.
Tip 3: Contexts
Put your actions into contexts. A context can be a location such as the office or home. It can also refer to a piece of equipment like a phone or computer. Then complete your actions according to context. For example when you are with your phone do all your phone call actions at the same time.
Tip 4: Delegate
If you look at your to do list carefully you may find that you could delegate some of your jobs. Many managers think that they lose control if they don't do everything themselves. They think that they are the only person capable of doing a particular job. The guideline to follow is this: if someone can do at least 80% as well as you, then let them do the job.
Tip 5: Create Projects
If something takes more than one action to complete then make it a project. For example, arranging a meeting may involve booking the conference room, setting the agenda, inviting the participants and so on. By grouping these actions as a project, you will find it easier to control the flow of actions that lead to completing the project.
Tip 6: Take a Break
You may believe that just working long hours and keeping at it will mean that you get more done. This is not always the case. Research has shown that when you work for a long time you get over tired. This results in you being less efficient. You lose concentration and focus. What should take 10 minutes to complete can take twice as long. This is why it is important to take regular breaks.
If you work using a computer then have a 5 minute rest every hour. Stand up, stretch, make yourself a cup of coffee. The result will be that you will find yourself being more productive.
Tip 5: De-stress
Doing too much can lead to stress. Research has shown that too much stress shortens lives. Organizing your life reduces stress. This means that organizing your life can actually prolong your life!
After you have finished work learn how to unwind and relax. There are several ways of doing this including meditation, listening to gentle music and relaxing baths.
Tip 6: Reward Yourself
When you have finished a project or achieved lots of actions then reward yourself with a treat. This could be as simple as having a cream cake with your coffee, playing a game on your computer, or calling a loved one for a chat.
Tip7: Do the Hard Things
There are some jobs that are just hard or boring, or both. Do one of these jobs when you are at peak alertness. You will know what time of the day you are more alert. For some this is in the morning, for others the afternoon. Do a hard job at this peak time. Do not put off the hard jobs until the end of the day when you are tired.
Tip 8: Create Goals
Create goals for all the areas of your life; health, finance, family and so on. Do at least one action a day that takes you nearer to achieving a goal.
Tip 9: Someday Actions
Some actions are actions that you would like to do someday or maybe. These could be fun actions like learning to play the piano or things that you would like to achieve such as running a marathon.
Don't neglect these actions just because you are busy. Book that piano lesson, go out for a jog.
Tip 10: Get a System
It helps to have a system to organize your actions. The simplest way to start is with a pen and a piece of paper where you write down all the things that you need to do then divide this list into sections: next, later then delegated actions. You then further sub divide the list by context.
There are several software programs available that can help with this. Outlook can be adapted to sort your to do lists for example. The one that I recommend is Life Manager Pro from Life Field Software. This is a simple yet effective solution to organizing all the things that you need to get done each day.
About the Author
Stephen Williamson owns an independent software company Life Field Software. He is also the developer of Life Manager Pro, organizer software based on the Getting Things Done method of productivity.
More information at www.lifemanagerpro.com