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Organised and Efficient – Five Strategies

Organised and Efficient – Five Strategies

1. Plan effectively and use tools that will make you more efficient.

 

Take time out to set long term goals, usually annual goals (what you hope to achieve in one year) and break these down into monthly and weekly goals. Make checklists of daily tasks and prioritise these tasks.

Three ways to manage these tasks include;
a) The diary – hard copy, paper based diary – day to a page. I used this approach for decades and it worked well. Over time you can adjust the process to optimise your efficiency.

b) Digital calendar app (which includes tasks) Five of the best calendars are;

I use Fantastical which is very flexible, easy to use and links with lots of other software. I can do my task lists (prioritised) using Fantastical.

c) Task program app (used with a calendar app)

My preferred task app is Todoist because of the way it interfaces with Fantastical. But you may find you don’t need a task app if the task function of your calendar app will meet your requirements

2. Maintain your Focus

Focus is the ability to pay attention to things that will help your work effort and avoid distractions that will hurt your work efforts. For example, if you are writing a report, you need to;
• focus on the relevant information and your writing for the report, and
• avoid distractions such as emails, notifications, phone calls, or the people around you.

Research has shown that it can take up to 26 minutes to recover focus after an interruption and this means that multiple interruptions can waste a lot of time.

To maintain focus:
Quarantine time in your most productive part of the day. Turn off notifications, emails, phone calls and don’t accept visitors for this quarantined time.
Turn off notifications altogether – they can be a continual distraction.
• Strategies to manage your email, such as only view emails once every hour and have a quick and effective process for prioritising, returning urgent emails, flagging and unsubscribing.
Manage unwanted phone calls by using voicemail or have a secretary / PA manage your incoming calls. A significant number of calls to personal / business mobile are unsolicited marketing and scammers. (Do you want a scammer to cause a 26 minute ‘re-focus’?)
Regular short breaks between activity or at specific times each day – this gives your mind time to rest and recover.
• Some tasks may be better accomplished offsite where there is less interruption.

3. Reduce the clutter

There is nothing more damaging to efficiency that wasting time looking for something that should be immediately available. We have all experienced this!
Reduce the clutter:
• Having a neat, ordered workspace, in and out trays, and hard copy documents,
• Try to be paperless – good for the environment and digital files are easier to organise,
• Clean up your computer desktop and getting rid of apps that you don’t use,
• Remove unused apps from your phone and order the apps so that the ‘most used’ are easily accessible
• Set up your digital folders and files with a system that will allow you to locate whatever you need quickly and easily. Have a good archiving process. Cloud based technologies mean we have endless amounts of storage – but this can be a problem if it is not well organised.
• Set aside time each month for organisation of folders and fields, archiving material that needs to be kept and binning duplicates and material you no longer require.

4. Make meetings more efficient

Firstly you need to determine if you really need a meeting – is it necessary or is there a better and more efficient solution.
Make sure that you have a well-prepared agenda that is sent out well in advance.
Try reducing meeting time – particularly for video teleconferencing meetings where there can be a lot of time wasted on set up and banter.
For physical meetings – try a ‘stand-up’ meeting. Research shows that stand-up meetings reduce meeting time by 34 percent and increase group productivity.

5. Implement workflow management practices

Workflow management apps are very useful for efficiency, particularly in a team environment. Workflow management is the coordination of tasks that make up the work an organisation does. ‘Workflow’ is a sequence of tasks that are part of some larger task.
Effective workflow management apps include

I have been using Asana for some years and it is particularly useful for assigning tasks to team members. I can assign a task, including details and attachments, and the team member can report on progress, ask for more information and advise when the task is completed. Asana is a very effective tool for managing tasks for multiple team members.

What Works for You?

Do you have strategies and apps that have worked really well for you? Please share these with us so we can all be better informed , more efficient and productive.

Steve Florisson
March 2022

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