Recently my wife has been spending a lot of time at work as she is handling multiple projects. Each of those projects are requiring a significant amount of her time resulting in her working pretty late into the night. Now I personally don’t prefer to spend more time at work unless there is some deadline or something unplanned has come along. However, most of the times I prefer working my 9 hours and then head home. Since my wife has been working overtime (and not getting paid for it also), I just thought to share some of things which I follow which helps me plan my day/ work better. Not to say that my wife does not do this.
Warning: All of the below does not work when you receive unplanned tasks or something from the management (which is always, usually urgent).
1. Plan your day
I spend at least 30-45 minutes planning my day and the activities which I need to accomplish in the day. I set out a to-do list every morning and allot numbers on those activities depending on the urgency level. The to-do list keeps getting updated once the day has begun with all the new activities getting added at the bottom of the list. The goal of the day is to accomplish everything that I have identified that needs to be completed today. Obviously, if any un-planned work occurs, the above does go for a toss. However, 90% of the times this works.
2. Prioritize, Prioritize, Prioritize
Normally we have tons of things which we need to do and more often than not they are always urgent and someone, somewhere is always waiting for it. So what I do in such scenarios is, think and analyze if they are really that urgent. One of things that help me do this – I always ask the person by when he/ she needs the data or the report. I always request for dates which ensures that I am working on only those things which really need to be done today. This helps me avoid spending my time on other things which can be dealt later.
3. Learn to say No
I had read somewhere “Always find a way to say a Yes”. I tend to disagree to this saying. I believe there are times when you need to learn to say No. I prefer saying a No, rather than agreeing to deliver a task by a certain amount of time and then failing to deliver it or not doing a quality job. Normally we have a tendency to please everyone and we tend to bite more than we can chew. Initially I would feel, if I say a no, what would the other person feel etc. However, as I grew professionally, I realized that it is alright to say a No if you have valid and genuine reasons behind it. Most of the times, your boss would understand and tell you not to worry about it.
4. Meeting Prioritization
We all have a lot of meetings that we need to attend. I haven’t yet worked in an organization where I haven’t had multiple meetings scheduled in a single day. The best way to gain sometime is to analyze and understand whether you need to attend all the meetings. I normally identify the meetings which are absolutely essential for me to attend and plan my work around those meetings. There are a few days when all I do is attend meetings – during those days I ensure I don’t have any deliverable assigned for those days. Normally such days are few and far between and you would normally know them about a week in advance. Kindly check the your meeting Calendar on a regular basis. Seriously. It is the best tool to the plan your day.
These things have been working for me. Feel free to share what works for you.