One of the most common ways we are measured in life is by our ability to get things done. Are we succeeding or failing? Have we finished the project or are we lagging behind? There are literally thousands of books and articles out there all trying to give us some advice about how to improve our time management, our ability to prioritise, to make key decisions and achieve great success.
Leaders get things done. Don’t say you are naturally disorganised. A leaders ability to organise will be a determining factor in their levels of productivity.
Here are my 5 tips for helping you to get things done:
Focus. Know what is most urgent and important and do those things first. There is no right way to do this. Some people use a to-do list and then rank them, others use a grid distinguishing between urgent/non-urgent and important/non-important. Whatever model you choose, stick to it.
I have found it useful to learn when is your best time of day for getting things done and do the big tasks then. For me that’s normally first thing in the office. By 3pm I’m starting to drift and the bigger projects become too much. Then I move to the other activities, items on the list that don’t take quite so long.
Fresh air. It is suggested by experts that we work in cycles of about 90 minutes. After this our attention will begin to wander. Best thing to do – move away from the desk, go for a walk, get some fresh air. Times like these can also help you think about things without any other distractions.
Follow through. Complete the task. We can have a tendency to get to about 80% done and then shelf it until it screams at us to be completed. Just be determined to get it done, then you can fully focus on the next activity.
Fun. Don’t be so task orientated that you lose your sense of fun. Make sure you have a laugh with colleagues or reward yourself when the job is finished. I will use coffee & cake as a great incentive. When I have completed this task then and only then do I have permission to go grab a treat.
Flexibility. Be ready for interruptions. It can be annoying when you are trying to get stuff done that people keep calling on your time, however the opposite to being flexible is being rigid. In becoming rigid, we can become brittle, and then when the pressure increases because things are not getting done, we snap. Stay flexible. Stuff happens, people will ask for a moment.
In fact a better route is to actually plan for interruptions, allow for it in the schedule, make the appointments yourself. Be proactive in filling your time rather than reactive. I promise you, all the tasks will still get finished.
What do you do to make sure you get things done?