I have just looked ahead to next week at my diary…

How does it get so full so fast?

It made me think about priorities. What is important and what is just, well, filling up space in my diary!

There are a lot of things to occupy us each day, but what are the really important things? Do we get sidetracked all too easily  or focus on the ‘easy’ tasks?

Well here are my tips for keeping on track:

  1. The to-do list. Don’t keep it on different post-it notes or in your head — at the beginning of each day or week, write on a sheet of paper what you want to get done and by when. Rank tasks according to importance or urgency to plan your day and focus your mind.
  2. Review your workload regularly. Is there one task that always ends up at the bottom of the pile? If you find you’re avoiding it, can somebody else do it? Consider delegating whole projects that you don’t need to be involved in or allocate a specific time when you only do your admin, for example.
  3. Set realistic deadlines for your tasks. Look at your to-do list and estimate the time each task needs to be completed but don’t be overoptimistic. Be honest of what you can achieve in a working day or week so that you don’t feel overwhelmed from the start.
  4. Allow time for interruptions. If you need to finish a certain task at a certain time, only deal with urgent queries during this time. You can then quickly pick up again where you left off.
  5. Structure your workload. Avoid picking up a job, doing a bit and then putting it back on the pile. Deal with them one at a time and finish each one before starting another. Your mind will be clear and ready for the next one.
  6. Don’t let your inbox drive your workload. If you get 50 mails per day, this means 50 interruptions to your day. Don’t check your inbox every time a message arrives. Switch off instant alerts if necessary and allocate a time when you will check your inbox.
  7. Fun, fun, fun. Ticking items off your to-do list is great, but are you concentrating on the quick-and-easy ones? Tackling more challenging projects first might mean more time, but also that a major task is completed and a weight off your shoulders.

That should do the trick? If only I could act on my own advice…

Ops, I have a meeting at 1300, better go prepare for that!

Have a great weekend.

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