🖊 This article was last updated on January 23, 2020
In today’s ever-shifting, fast-paced lifestyle, the world will demand of you to continually pile staggering amounts on your plate. With an endless task list, it would help to snag a few pointers on how to organise, and manage it all. Fret not; this article has got you covered. Read on to see how you can handle everything you chew, without choking.
1. Be Realistic
Forget perfection – it’s a myth.
There is no such thing as the perfect result: this world is not designed that way, and neither are you. Start by defining what you’re worried about: what is it you need to get just right? Then remove that idea from your head. I’m not saying this is easy – but it all starts by trying.
There’s a difference between perfection and striving for the best: the latter means you do your utmost, despite the obstacles and setbacks. Whatever is done to the best of your ability, will be, believe it or not, the perfect outcome.
2. Distraction-free environment
A clean desk is a clean slate: keep only necessities in your working space.
As for smartphones, being connected with everyone has its benefits; but knowing every second of someone’s life simply detracts from your own.
Airplane mode your phone, then place it out of reach. If you need your number for work, see if there’s an old Nokia hiding somewhere and trade out sims. And, for those of you who require social media, turn off unnecessary notifications (family group chats can wait).
Additionally, keep some post-it notes or a notebook and pen at hand to jot down thoughts as you work; or, brain-dump a journal session before and after your task. Start to feel the positive effects of clearing up your headspace through journaling.
3. Go for easy wins at the start
It’s easy enough to want to get to the finish line before you’ve started – but this does more harm than good.
Firstly, break down your goals into smaller chunks. If you have a 2000 word piece, start with 100. If you need to hit the gym, start by packing your bag. And if these seem too big: simply show up.
Small tasks are the gateway to completion. By choosing the path of least resistance, your brain primes itself for the tasks ahead. With each little step, you start to reach your destination.
4. Track your progress
Keep a log of your targets, digitally, or physically. Get yourself a planner or some kind of note-taking system allowing you to see what you’ve achieved and what’s left: not only does this keep you organised, but ticking each box is just so satisfying.
These days, bullet journaling is all the rage, and you can find an overwhelming amount of content about how it works. But don’t be distracted by the creative BJ’s out there: this is only for your eyes to see, so just get down what you need to. If you find keeping a notebook cumbersome, find a habit tracking app or a note-taking system like Evernote, or Todoist, which allows you to keep your checklists across platforms. And if that’s too much, all you need is your Gmail account to keep things up to date via Google Calendars.
5. Use a timer
Time is of the utmost – and what better way to keep track of it than by using an online timer?
Try the time blocking method, known as Pomodoro. It typically uses around 25 minutes ‘on’ time to work, with five-minute breaks in between. After four cycles of this, take a 15-30 minute break, and repeat. Methods like Pomodoro are standards that can be adapted to fit your needs, so try out different methods and see what works for you – maybe 45-minute sessions are better, or five cycles, or a longer break in between each block.
By combining your tracking method with the timer, you can efficiently log how long it takes to do a task. As you continue to time your progress, you’ll become better at guesstimating how long it takes, enhancing your productivity with time.
6. Learn from the experts
“Learn from others’ mistakes. You can never live long enough to make them all yourself”Groucho Marx
With the plethora of productivity material out there, it only makes sense to hop onto the bandwagon of someone you trust to see how they’ve done it. Don’t hesitate to copy them because productivity is probably the only thing in life you can (and should) plagiarize.
Personalities like Tim Ferris, Matt D’Avella, and Thomas Frank from CollegeInfoGeek are just some names on this ever-growing list. There will be someone out there whose productivity methods you aspire towards – it just takes a little digging to find them. And of course, there is a multitude of ways to devour their content: books, articles, podcasts or videos. You can always find what you’re looking for.
7. When you generate income: Outsource
If you’ve got the financial capabilities – don’t try and do everything yourself!
By offloading certain tasks onto others, not only are you getting things off your plate, but you’re providing work for somebody else who may actually do the job better than you. Say you have to build your own website – is it better to sit there and learn to code yourself, or get someone skilled in the field to do it?
Remember that you’re either trading your money or your time: the more money you generate, the more your time becomes precious – so start inter-depending on others more.
Search websites like FreeeUp, which allow you to find people who have the skills you need, at a variety of price points. Outsourcing is a great way to increase your productivity, and someone else’s – It’s a win-win!
So, next time you have a big task coming up, don’t sweat it – take a deep breath in and begin with these tips in mind.