Task organization: Checklist for always-busy executives

Task organization: Checklist for always-busy executives

Each person organizes his/her tasks in a way and needs to find out what is the best method for him/her and follow it with discipline. If you do not know yours yet, this post will show you seven universal principles of task organization, followed even by artificial intelligence systems, like tasks organizer software. Your single challenge is to come to the end of this text without being interrupted by phone or e-mail…

 

1. The day only end with planning and organization

If you start your day with a plan in hand and a desk in order, you are able to do everything you need and did not believe that could fit in a single day. Every morning, analyze and review your to-do list. At the end of the day, leave your desk organized again and list your tasks for the next day. That’s it. There is no reason for you not to adopt this routine from today, isn’t it?

 

2. A task at a time

Multitasking is an illusion, but it seduces. The will to do everything at once is tempting, I know, but according to the University of Utah, only 2.5% of people can actually accomplish more than one task at a time. So it is pretty much guaranteed to do well one task at a time and you will have done a lot in the end. Also, if the next task takes 2 hours and you have a meeting in half an hour, it’s not the best option to assume now. A great idea is to break large tasks into steps, each one in writing, both to show you what is needed and you had forgotten, and to make you feel more satisfied before a long list of deliveries.

 

3. Separate

One of the most famous principles of task organization is to separate them and perform like this: 1) urgent and important – start by them; 2) important, but pending – give attention to them until the end of the week; 3) urgent, but not so important – delegate them; 4) distractions, like checking social networks and talking – rather than cutting off them, the smartest thing to do is adopt them as a reward for a productive day, especially if you follow all the principles of this list.

 

4. Gather

The time it takes you to find files on your computer or notebook could be used to organize into folders all you often need. You can do the same with the types of task you work on. Researches, calls, emails and reports, for example, are types of tasks that can be done more quickly once grouped, according to Mary Sigmann, Organize Coach consultant. With a task organizer, you can go further and find out what kind of task takes your time at most.

 

5. Everything has limits, especially meetings

The key to an efficient and brief meeting is preparation. Sigmann advises you to communicate three things to all (few) participants: 1) which subjects will be addressed, 2) what information you expect to hear from each one, and 3) how long will last the meeting. A smart way to ensure that all goes as planned is to share your online agenda with the participants, so that they can write in advance what they need to talk about. Not written, not a priority.

 

6. A bubble in your day

People are more understanding than you think. When new demands jump on your desk, keep in mind that you can offer one of several solutions: work on it yourself, suggest another responsible, ask for a new deadline and of course refuse. To think what to do, tell everyone you work with that you will not be available during a certain period of your day. And of course, you can use this insulation bubble to catch up on some task.

 

7. E-mail: how to deal?

The last tip will surprise you. Answering emails and clearing your inbox is probably one of the tasks you less want to do and therefore it deserves the most definitive solution. In 2012, McKinsey concluded that adopting technology tools that facilitate social interaction instead of e-mail can increase the productivity of a company, I’m not kidding, in more than 30%.

 

So, better than booking 1 hour early and 1h at the end of your day to deal with emails, you can cut them off dramatically by hiring a software for task organization. Hard to choose one? Try Runrun.it for free: http://runrun.it

 

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