If your workdays feel very busy, and yet at the end of a day you’re not really able to pin-point what’s been completed, you may experience confusion and dissatisfaction. After all, you have been busy with something, so why does it feel as though hardly anything got done?
There may be several reasons why this happens.
It may be related to the very nature of your job — i.e. if you’re having to be available for various kinds of requests coming from a number of sources at the same time.
It may result from not making a plan — causing you to jump from one task to another, constantly switching attention between different things.
It may also stem from staying open to more interruptions than the unavoidable amount, by keeping email open and phone on, when it is not required.
But whatever the reason, the fact is, that because of remaining within this type of chaotic workflow, you’re likely to experience additional and unnecessary stress, not to mention being less productive.
Here are some ideas you could try in order to limit the chaos, stay sane and perhaps even get more done:
Make a list of all to-dos.
That’s right, start small and simple and build on from there. Not having a day plan written down can contribute to the following kind of thoughts lingering it the back of your head: “what was it that I said I’d do today” or “I’m sure there was something that I forgot to do yesterday”. These questions indicate lack of organization which is a quick way to missing deadlines and letting others down.
Writing things down clears your head and lets you focus on what you’re doing right now. Furthermore, when you’re pulled out of your flow by a call or an emergency cropping up elsewhere at work — thanks to having the plan written down, getting back to it will be a lot easier.
Work smart: automate where possible and stop multitasking.
The most convenient place to keep your to-dos is online — this way you can access them regardless of time and place. Seeing as you’ll already going to relay on software, take full advantage of it! Use a project management board that is going to let you set up tasks that will recur according to your schedule. Best apps will also facilitate creating custom automation of any actions on the project board. Make sure you’re benefiting from everything that your project management app offers.
Furthermore, please stop believing that multitasking makes you more efficient! It does not — in most cases it only makes you complete more tasks poorly and under stress, rather than fewer, but well.
Set due dates and only look at what’s immediately needed to be viewed.
This will make your workload appear lighter, easier to manage. There is also no need to bother with thinking about tasks that won’t need doing for a while yet. Assigning deadlines to actions also makes for easier day planning.
It can also be of great help if you’ll be able to not only filter what tasks you’re looking at, but also block and postpone those items, that do not need to grab your attention now, but will need to come back later.
Having a list makes prioritizing easier.
You can assign importance or urgency values to tasks in a visual way, in order to be able to quickly tell, what’s what. This, along with the fact, that your ongoing and upcoming tasks are recorded, is of great help when dealing with unplanned work. You can insert it onto the board at any time and quickly assert its priority in relation to tasks that are already waiting to be processed.
Going back to the initial problem of not being able to tell what you’ve done throughout the day — the question becomes very easy to answer, when you have a record of all work both waiting and done. It’s a great way of analyzing how you spend your time and what may be causing the biggest problems, time-wise.
Add to it all, the prospect of utilizing this online project management system with all of your coworkers — your team productivity improvements could be substantial. Moreover, lifting the burden of having to churn tasks and deadlines via notes and emails off of everyone, is something every team should experience for calmer, easier and more efficient work days.
Originally posted on the Kanban Tool Blog.