(I am pleased to present the following guest post by Pam Warren)
The current generation of smartphones has allowed for a new market of amazing tools for managing your life and increasing productivity. One of the most common of these is the ‘to-do’ list applications, which can make keeping track of day-to-day tasks much easier.
The first trick is to make sure the app you use has the facilities you need. Make sure you look to see if the app has things like folders, alarms or colour coding, depending on how you work. There are hundreds of apps out there that you can use, with some of the most popular being Evernote, Any do and Wunderlist. Personally, I use Astrid Tasks.
First of all, brainstorm all the things you think you need to achieve last thing at night, and in the morning see if you can add anything. The way you phrase the list is important: try and make sure you write the full task and use actionable verbs, so rather than just the name of your client, write ‘discuss x with client y’. This will help put you in the goal mind-set.
When I am creating my listings, I also like to prioritise by colour coding the tasks from red to blue. You can create your own system, but make sure you know at a glance what the most urgent tasks are.
When are you most productive? Make sure you identify your peak times. If you know your peak concentration hours, try and put the most daunting tasks then, and allow yourself time to build up to that period.
Also try and time similar activities into clusters. For example, if you have a few calls you have to make, try and put them together at a time when you think most people will be available, set an alarm, and then get them all out of the way at once.
Do little, easy things in between the larger, more daunting tasks. Also, make sure you break up long periods of work with breaks, this will help you maintain motivation. However, make sure that whilst you intersperse your tasks and do multiple things sequentially, you maintain focus on each individual task whilst you’re completing it.
This is so important, but I often forget to do it myself. When you get home and have had a cup of tea to relax yourself, take a moment to think about your day. What tasks took the longest? Where was time wasted? How can you improve?
Also, whilst on the topic of using applications to keep track of your work affairs: there’s a useful application called Expensify which helps to make a note of your expenses. It syncs with your credit cards and bank accounts, can scan paper receipts via the camera on your phone and records travelling mileage so you have everything accounted for. Helpful for keeping track expenses of long trips!
Pam Warren, Independent Project Manager,
Pam Warren Biography
Since overcoming life-changing injuries from the Paddington Train Crash of 1999, I have become a master of re-invention and a catalyst for change not just in my own life but in the lives and work of others. Building on my skills as a businesswoman and Independent Financial Advisor with 13 staff, I retrained as a Prince 2 Practitioner project manager. I was the lead campaigner in securing a safer rail network for Britain and have since worked with a number of businesses and charities to help them achieve their goals and aspirations efficiently and effectively.I would be delighted to help you too
Independent Project Manager