Time – where does it go? Sometimes it seems as if none of us can possibly have enough to get everything done that we need to do in a day. Efficient time management is a goal many of us strive for, in order to increase our productivity levels. But sometimes it's easier said than done! Here is the first of five tips to help you trick yourself into increased productivity – without striving too hard or even being highly aware of it!
This is my first tip: WRITE DOWN YOUR TO-DO LIST AND STICK IT TO YOUR WORK DESK. Is there anyone who doesn't keep a to-do list any more? Surely your granny, postman, colleague and dog are all doing it at this point? (What would a dog's to-do list look like, I wonder? 'Whine for treats, slobber over owner, sniff other dogs' butts, chase imaginary rabbits in sleep...' Let's not speculate further).
The trouble with a lot of folk's lists is where they keep them. In a file on your computer? Pinned to a crowded noticeboard (with a couple of recipes and a phone number pinned over it)? Stuck in your wallet or crumpled at the bottom of your bag?
No no no no NO. This isn't where your list should be. Where should it be? Well, where do you spend your most productive time? For most of us it's at our work desks – so that's where it goes, preferable sellotaped to the desk firmly in a spot your eye naturally falls on (and not where you put your mug of tea). Of course I'm talking about an up to date version – or if an old one, at least with hand written updates scrawled at the bottom to keep it current.
The advantage of this is obvious – if out of sight is out of mind, then 'permanently in your field of vision' means the tasks you need to do are never far from your thoughts. You can't forget that urgent package until it's too late to get it delivered on time. Your most imminent deadline becomes unmissable in more ways than one.
And of course, it provides the wondrous satisfaction of scoring through an entry on a to-do list – but it does so in a clearly visible way that's a continual reminder of how much you've already achieved. That's a psychological boost to get you really flying through your tasks for the day! The more you tick off, the more you want to be able to mark as completed – and the closer you are to really upgrading your daily level of productivity.
So remember, folks, that to-do list is important – but it's just as important to have it right there where you can't miss it, every minute of the day. Go break out the sellotape and magic markers now!
Copyright Ollie Hicks, 2009.