10 Aug How to organize your working day
Organizing your working day is just as important as your work itself.
I admit it. Though I have created an online business (and I spend most of the day at my pc), I still need a paper planner.
Yes: to me, there is nothing like putting pen to paper and take note of all of my tasks and activities.
By doing so, I feel they are better fixed in my mind. It is probably just an impression, as I still need to have my calendar on me. But I like to write them down: I have a feeling they are more under control.
Whatever support you are using to organize your work (an online calendar as well as an offline paper planner), writing down all of your job activities reduces the effort your mind has to make to remember them.
Our brains are already overloaded with information (does that “annoying chattering” thing sound familiar to you?) so finding ways to streamline our work process is definitely worth the time.
These are the tools I use to organize my working day:
- Weekly and daily paper planner: the one I use is of the Legami brand and it allows me to have both a daily and a weekly schedule. It is quite big (I need to have space to comfortably take note of everything) and it matches perfectly with my huge work purse (actually, it looks more like a suitcase…).
- Weekly planner: on weekends I prepare the new schedule for the upcoming week, breaking it down into days and hours. Colorful highlighters help me prioritize each day. Initially, I kept this planner as a desk pad, but then I realized it was a major source of distraction for me.
I thought having my tasks close at hand all the time would help the work organization, but then it turned out to be a stress factor: it actually grabbed my attention from what I was doing and made me think of what I had to do next. Multitasking can be a great thing if done wisely, but I personally obtain the best results when I focus on one thing at a time. So the planner is still in my office. I have just moved it a little bit off the side. If I need to check it, I will still find it very close to me, just not right in front of my eyes all the time. Things have improved a lot.
- Google Calendar or Outlook Calendar: I add both personal and work deadlines on my online calendars as well. Especially if they are to be met much ahead of time. I also set the calendars to notify me on specific days and hours. For example, my car tax which has to be paid in 12 months time, or my car insurance expiration date. There is just no other way for me to remember this kind of things.
- A personal planner for each customer: Yes, each one of my customers has his/her own folder with his/her personal planner. Usually a monthly one. I schedule their blog posting days, newsletters releases and other different tasks.
I might do the same things online with Asana, for example. If I have enough time, I schedule using both my online and offline tools. This way, I would still have everything I need at my disposal, even with my pc turned off. At the beginning of my day, I check the planner to see if I there is some adjustments to be made (urgent requests, sudden family matters, etc.).
At the end of the day, I check what has actually been done. I find this a very helpful habit. Sometimes I have to deal with so many things that I just lose track of time and feel I have not really done anything.
By going through all of the completed tasks, I realize how much I have managed to finish. Ticking all those things off my list it is the best satisfaction ever!
I do the same thing at the beginning and the end of the week.
Both my online and paper calendars often become super crowded with notes. Having to reschedule urgent matters is something that happens all the time, so this is the perfect way to keep everything under control, no-matter-what.
As far as possible (not all the time, sadly…) I always try to save some free time between one activity and another. Because, again, unexpected events may come up and need to be rearranged during the day or the week.
Now that I have begun a wonderful journey with Gioia Gottini’s BBClub I am discovering, among other things, the importance of planning at different levels. I can assure it is really worth spending some time on it.
Starting up, because it teaches you how to work faster and smoother and, later on, it helps you feel more confident as you move forward with your career.
Skip this part, and you will always feel overtaken by events.
How do you handle your work tasks? How do you organize all your activities? Do you prefer online or offline (paper) tools?