There are never enough hours in the day to get all our work done. Often, we are only in the middle of one project before another rushes in. The telephone rings, the emails flood in and the supervisor is always right there expecting results. You can help conquer the work week by making an intelligent schedule.
Deal with every piece of paper on your desk. Do this before you think of opening a calendar or scheduling page. Make three piles for your papers. Mark them "Urgent," "To Do" and "File." Everything else should be trash. File away the papers designated as such. Keep the other two piles out.
Make a master list with every "Urgent" and "To Do" item on it. Label each paper with two days prior to the due date and amount of time you expect the task involved to take times 1/2. For example, if something is due on October 15, label it October 13 and if it should take 10 minutes, allow for 15. You will appreciate the extra time later. As you add to the list place your listed "Urgent" tasks in one basket and your listed "To Do" items in another.
Go through both baskets and arrange by due dates. Mark these dates on a calendar page. Remember the entries are marked two days later. Be sure to fill in accurate dates for presentations, conferences or phone calls on a specific date and time.
Open a weekly work template that has ample space on each day of the work week. Note set appointments first. On the correct day you will mark down the event (conference or meeting), location and what you will need to take with you. Mark the starting time and add 30 minutes to the anticipated ending time.
Schedule time to complete your "Urgent" priorities. Prioritize them. Separate each task and block anticipated time it will take plus 30 minutes. If it is a long project, you might need to break it up in several blocks.
Work your other "To Do" activities in for the week. Block out times as you did with the "Urgent" items. Arrange your work so that you do the most complicated items in your own peak times. For instance, if you are a morning person plan these particular tasks for the early work hours and save the less intense work for the afternoon.
Block out time to review emails and return non urgent telephone calls. By having set times to attend to these you won't find yourself being as distracted by them.
Back up the weekly work schedule you have made on your computer hard drive. Many programs will also allow you to set reminders so that you have a visual heads up when due dates and appointments loom.
Tips & Warnings
- Don't forget to schedule in your lunch and break. Do your best not to shortchange yourself with these times as refreshing is important in keeping you sharp for work.
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