Productivity tips to keep you ahead of the game
Organisational skills don't come naturally to everyone. If you run around from task to task without having a grasp of deadlines or the bigger picture, you will run yourself into the ground. Regardless of your workplace, it’s important to have great oversight over what you’re working on (and in some positions, what others around you are working on).
For some, remembering each task (including the minor ones) that's required of them is quite easy. Yet for many of us, it's much easier to have a few tools to help us stay on top, and ahead, of the game.
Here are a few basic tips to help you become a productivity ninja:
Set these in a calendar online that can ping you a notification when the task is due. This is great reassurance in case your load increases and you've forgotten about something. There are some innovative calendar apps out there (like Sunrise http://www.sunrise.am/) that do a great job of integrating tasks, meetings, and other factors like the weather.
Make sure that all your documents and emails get filed using folders or tags. These can take some time to set up, but once the system is in place, you'll save yourself a lot of time in the future. Consider using cloud based storage system like Dropbox so all of your files are available anywhere at any time.
Keep a to-do list
Prioritise your tasks with a to-do list. This is great to set up at the beginning of the day so that you can map out the hours ahead. It will also give you a really good idea if you have too much on your plate and need to ask for help, or delegate a task.
Have a long term plan
Make a long term plan that you can refer to from time to time. This should be broader than your immediate tasks, and can focus on your own personal development, or your contribution to the business. This way, you'll be able to see how your day to day tasks are fitting into the bigger picture, and if any areas are lacking and need addressing.
If you find yourself doing the same action over and over again, see if you can automate it. If you're constantly deleting the same promotional email from your inbox every single day, consider unsubscribing. Those few clicks you'll save each day will add up throughout the year. If you are always moving an email from the same person into a certain folder, you can automate that too with filters. You can move beyond filters and start automating a broader range of actions with IFTTT (https://ifttt.com/).
Don’t use your brain as a task manager
Many people fall into the trap of using their short-term memory bank as a place to store all the tasks they are working on. Don’t let this happen to you. Set up these systems for organisation, and trust them. They won’t fail you. But your memory will. Keeping everything in your head will also reduce your ability to think creatively.
What productivity and organisational tips and tricks have worked best for you?