As a leader, you should always be focusing on the certain areas and thinking of strategies in how your company can take the next step forward. Many use a work ‘to-do’ list as a way of becoming more organised, as well as improving focus which can be very valuable. However, too many people use it only for measuring their self-worth and this is a mistake. It’s important to have a ‘quality over quantity’ mindset with your list and ensure that everything you have to do will be beneficial for your business.
1) Choose a Method and Get Going
To-do lists are completed in all shapes and sizes, so do it in a way that suits you. Some individuals prefer writing it by pen as it feels more personal, but if you would prefer to opt for a different way there are many (we are in the digital age after all), including a massive range of digital apps specifically designed to help people create their own to-do lists.
It’s also a good idea to create more than one. Make a list of what your employees need to be doing so that you can keep track of their work. Make an everyday HIT list for yourself. This list should be full of High Impact Tasks that need to be completed ASAP. Along with this, you should create a master list of things you would like to accomplish in the long-term. Every morning before checking your e-mails or meeting with employees, check the items from each list that you have completed and which ones you want to get done that day.
2) Prioritise the Most Important Tasks:
Ensure that you complete the MIWTs (most important work tasks) as this will make you feel more productive and will be more beneficial to your workplace. So even if you don’t complete all of your targets from the list for the day, it means that you have still completed the most important things.
3) Break Everything Down
One way to prevent procrastination is to make goals seem much more manageable by breaking them down into smaller tasks. So instead of writing ‘finish report’ try something more specific, such as ‘write 300 words of the report today,’ on Monday and then ‘finish remaining 500 words and read over report,’ on Tuesday. For tasks that require a lot of time but need to be finished by the end of the week, ensure to delegate some of them to your workers. This will help the work be completed a lot faster than if you were taking on most of it yourself.
Encourage your employees to write their own daily HIT lists every morning; this will improve their productivity and ensure that everything is completed. To ensure they are sticking to it, ask to see their lists on occasional mornings or mention it in meetings. The surprise factor will ensure they will continue to do them. Emphasise to employees the importance of writing as much information down as possible, meaning there are no excuses for not getting the work done.
4) Be Specific
When you make each list, put a time estimate next to each item to keep it precise, for example: finish remaining 400 words of report – 9 a.m.-10 a.m. Move onto the next task when your time is up and continue with this work structure to prevent spending too much time on one task and not enough on another, it’s vital to maintain a good working balance.
When it comes to the ‘master list,’ make sure not to stress. There will be items on this list that you’ve been meaning to do for days, weeks and maybe even months. Before diving in head first, try and learn what steps are necessary for completing the task. Break each task down so that you are taking the steps to completing it, instead of becoming stressed and not doing it accordingly.
5) Maintain Flexibility
Don’t try and complete each task on your HIT list back-to-back, not only will this completely stress you out; it will mean your tasks are completed half-heartedly. It’s important to take some time between each item on your list to take a breather. This also gives leeway in case something pops up that needs to be done, such as an employee needing help or looking after client relations.
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