There are a lot of self-help books on tips for organizing. I have personally prescribed to the Franklin Method for years, of course modified to fit me. I have also had the benefit of getting good advice from supervisors and mentors and have spent time researching what has worked for others and then adopted those things that work well for me. Often they are very simple concepts but things that can make us more efficient and more productive. They can be applied at work or when conducting a job search. Below are some simple concepts that I have found to be useful.
- Plan your work day. Before leaving the office in the evening or first thing every morning, write down your “to do’s” for the day. This not only serves as your guide for the day but when that emergency does pop up or you get distracted you have a reference to help you get back on track later.
- Schedule your day and stick to it. If you have a job that requires phone time or you have a project with a deadline, block out the time in your day to get it done. During that time turn off your email, don’t answer your phone and don’t allow yourself to be pulled into someone else’s issues.
- Allow time daily for administrative “stuff.” Block off time every day to catch up on email, return calls, file documents, etc.
- Create blocks of time for like tasks. I have found it useful to block like tasks together. This helps you “get into a groove” and will result in a more focused and efficient effort (as opposed to jumping back and forth between tasks). For example making prospecting calls, returning emails or phone calls, or reviewing financial statements.
- Don’t be afraid to say “No” or insist on a later schedule. Often when someone needs something from you it is a priority for them, but it may not be for you. It is OK to say you are in the middle of another activity and ask that they call you back in an hour or put something on your calendar for later that day so you can assist them (obviously gauging overall priorities and deadline considerations).
By adopting these simple principles you will stay more focused on the tasks at hand and ultimately be more productive.