Productivity tips from Referential's Barbara Leavy

I know we are all guilty of wishing there were more hours in the day.  Unfortunately, we need to face the reality, there is… and always will be… 24 hours in a day.  The one exception is that one day of the year when the clocks turn back, but hopefully we are getting an extra hour to sleep and not an extra hour to work! In this fast paced world we live in, the ability to multi-task and prioritize is essential to our success, our productivity and especially our sanity.  If we all keep a few tips in mind it can help to effectively juggle what is on our plates.

Make a plan:

  • The first step to effective multitasking is having a plan or setting goals. You can’t “just wing it” and hope that your projects will be completed to the best of your abilities.
  • By thinking ahead, it will help ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.

Make sure to set reminders: 

  • If you have a data base where you can create tasks to manage your work, make sure to do so. Check your to- do list early in the day and prioritize, keeping in mind there will more than likely be a fire drill that comes up during the day.  Tackle what is most important first.
  • Use your outlook calendar to your advantage, it can be an easy way to track deadlines.
  • Flag emails that you need to address but cannot respond to immediately or you need to investigate prior to responding. Take some time at the end of your day to review your flagged emails and respond or create a task or reminder where appropriate.

Break down and combine tasks when possible:

  • We often look at our workload like an insurmountable mountain which can be intimidating. Break down those tasks into smaller manageable chunks.  This will enable you to work on multiple tasks at once, and if they are smaller they will feel more manageable.
  • If possible, try to concentrate on similar tasks at the same time. In order to effectively multitask, it helps if the projects you are working on are somewhat similar. This way your mind is not jumping from one thing to another, allowing you to “get in the zone”.

Step Away:

  • You may find that by stepping away for a brief time will give you a chance to clear your head and may also give you some inspiration.
  • With so much on our plates it is easy to feel guilty if we take some down time. So, take a short walk, grab a cup of coffee (away from your computer) or get some fresh air. I am pretty sure your brain will thank you!

Remember, not all tasks are equal.  It is up to you to evaluate your tasks prior to beginning to determine true priorities.  Keep in mind that some tasks may require your full attention, at that point you need to put your multitasking hat on the shelf for a while!