22 Mar 2012

In today’s fast-paced environment, we often find ourselves to be impossibly busy: organising your time efficiently to complete every crucial task becomes almost an art form. Without an effective way of managing your responsibilities, it is easy for tasks to slip through the cracks and become forgotten or delayed. So, with an abundance of things to get done and seemingly not enough hours in the day, how can you keep on top of your daily activities and make the most of your time?

The first point may seem a tad obvious – but get into the habit of keeping a diary: keep it up to date every day and eventually it will become second nature. Ensure that there is a sufficient level of detail added to each appointment; for example ‘Meeting with John, 9am’ reminds you to attend the appointment, but ‘Meeting with John Smith, 9-10am, Conference Room B – discuss new project and finalise estimates’ reminds you exactly when, where and why you arranged the meeting and what you need to accomplish.

Furthermore, make sure every passing thought, useful idea, phone call or message is written down. With so much going on, it is very easy to get distracted and forget concepts, names, dates, times and other important details – keep a notebook and pen on hand or digital application such as Noteshelf open at all times and jot things down as soon as possible.

Try to make the most of every minute – don’t let any time be spent worrying about what you need to get done when you could actually be doing something about it. So, if you are stuck on the train, use this time productively to check your diary, read over notes, make lists, send e-mails or make phone calls: whether this relates to your personal or work life, removing any items from your to do list will decrease stress levels and allow you to focus on other more pressing issues.

It is good practice to try and digitise (and back up) as much information as possible. By not relying solely on paper, your information will still be safe and accessible should disaster strike. Also, if you have synced your diaries between your laptop and smartphone and uploaded your documents to shared folders, you will no longer risk facing that sense of panic if you have left something vital in the taxi on the way to a meeting!

Develop your own system of organisation – whether this is a coloured or alphabetised filing system, or a clearly organised structure of files and documents on your computer, make sure everything has a designated place so you don’t have to waste any time looking for it later on.

Finally, learn how to effectively delegate – if you find you don’t have enough time to get everything done, consider if there’s any tasks that you don’t actually need to do yourself and, where appropriate, allow others to help share the workload.

Effective organisation can improve productivity, reduce stress levels and create a better work/life balance, so it is well worth trying to incorporate simple tips like these into your daily routine. Online task management tools such as Wunderlist can also be incredibly useful, or notetaking and archiving software such as Evernote – so check them out and see how they could help. Keep an eye out for more Energy Cell top tips and please feel free to share your own thoughts and ideas with the team!

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