Some days are just nuts. Today was one of those days where the phone didn’t stop ringing, emails came thick and fast and even my FB messenger was pinging with more work and responsibility boooo-ringggg. Here’s how I get organised.
As you maybe know by now, I’m a bit childish, and have some difficulties at times with getting my head in the right place so here are my fail-proof steps for getting my life and work together.
1. Stop faffing about and open these instructions (I keep them as an emergency plan in my Google Drive). Follow them step-by-step and stop panicking about the future. Focus only on doing these instructions.
2. Check your phone for messages. Phone calls and texts take priority over emails as chances are they are more urgent. Open up your task manager or list (I use Teamwork.com to manage everything cos it’s awesome).
3. Call your customers back and make tasks based on the conversation. If you say you’ll do something today, make sure your task deadline is set for today, but do try and give yourself more time if possible.
A lot of the time customers are understanding because they are also busy but the main thing is to try and not go D-O-A cos that scares them more than a quick ‘I’m a bit busy right now but I’ll get back to you in the next few days’.
4. Open up your email. I use this method to manage my emails. I have one inbox for Action and another for Pending, then the main inbox. Go through your emails and simply put those that require a response/must-read into the action pile. Don’t worry about answering them. Don’t stress about them. Just put them in the action pile. Get to main inbox 0. That’s your sorting place as stuff comes in.
5. Start going through your action email pile starting with the oldest first. Anything that can take less than five minutes to do, should be done straight away.
The goal here is to get info into its rightful place. Tasks belong in your task manager, events belong in your calendar and emails should be answered or archived or go into pending if you’re waiting for an answer.
Don’t worry about getting all of the action tasks done. That’d be great but it’s sometimes unrealistic. Just fill up your task list a bit so you can start knocking it down. Of course, if your action list has gotten really smelly then it might be best to get everything put into tasks so you can feel super-organised and motivated to keep going. If your action list has taken over your life then it’s time to start prioritising what you want to do.
6. Now you should have a nice list of tasks with dates assigned. If you’re still finding it difficult to know where to start then block off time in your calendar for each project you are working on and use that time on those tasks. I do this whenever I have difficulty prioritising anything because it’s all urgent. I also put different statuses on my tasks (urgent etc) which helps me easily see straight away in the morning, the things I need to do.
Always put a date in your task manager even if you have to move it as timetables slide. It’s always good to have a goal. Start doing and checking off your tasks.
That’s how I do it in theory. Sometimes I slip and freewheel for a bit, then feel guilty, then get back on track and then off again 🙂 Falling off of track can mean that the system is too complicated in which case you need to simplify or then just that you’re a bit of a panicker under pressure (me) and forget that there are systems to help you get things done.
Much of this wee system of mine is from GTD and that email management method is a life-saver. Teamwork.com really helps me keep things under control although sometimes I forget that… anyway, I hope you find this useful!