There are days when I’m a productivity machine, knocking out tasks like a pro. Then, there are other days when I’m driving down the street, will see and turn into Walgreens and commence with shopping for nearly 30 minutes for nothing in particular.
I have a very busy mind and tend to let my own thoughts distract me, and in some cases, completely derail me. My hubby likes to call it “squirreling,” meaning I’ll head off full speed in one direction, see something shiny and change course in two seconds.
Like most people, I have a heap of tasks to accomplish on any given day and keeping things straight can be challenging. And, to help avoid getting ensnared in the trap of being busy with being busy, I’ve got five tips for how to stay on task and make the most of your day:
1) Write it down – Make it clear what you intend to accomplish by incorporating a daily “to-do” list into your routine. I generally jot mine out first-thing in the morning when I sit down at my desk. It only takes a couple of minutes to draft, but can help me prepare for the entire day.
2) Plug it in – This might seem redundant, but I also keep a list of “reminders” on my phone. This generally is for all the non-work related tasks I need to do. I have a very strict policy of never mixing my home and work life (sometimes it just happens). But, I find separating tasks in this way makes it much easier to digest.
3) Pick priorities – There are only so many hours in a day and you’re only one person. Recognize that everything on your list isn’t a top priority. For those things that are, give them a premiere spot. For me, that means moving items that are time-sensitive to the top of my list.
4) Set a timeline – Start with the end in mind and work your way backwards. If you leave things open-ended, the odds of them getting done in a timely fashion will decrease. Like I said before, everything on the list isn’t a priority, but it should be important to get everything on your list D-O-N-E. Time waits for no one, so manage yours wisely.
5) Divide and conquer – When I have a large project in front of me, I have to break it up into smaller pieces, or run the risk of feeling overwhelmed. Not being able to “see the forest for the trees” will throw me off track every single time (hence my random trips to Walgreens), so I have to trick myself into believing the task is manageable by putting them into categories.
When it comes right down to it, staying organized is about staying disciplined. I’d love to hear what tips you have for staying on task throughout the day. Leave them in the comments because caring is sharing.
(Photos by Christina Jones Photography)