Really happy to be sharing my first guest blog post from a lovely friend Kerry, who shares with us her top ten tips for prioritizing. If you struggle to get into a productive routine and need some structure, it may sound like hard work but really isn’t and the steps are simple to follow with the benefits including having more time for the things you enjoy, feeling more focused (goodbye drifting!), achieving more, doing the things you love, feeling motivated and working in sync with your own energy levels. Thanks to Kerry for her top tips…
1. Learn when your high energy time is – and schedule in the hard and urgent tasks then. I’m 8-11am. After 11am I start daydreaming about lunch and am not as focused…
2. Create Lists! – I know obvs. Writing down everything helps you prioritize and focus – put a number by each item for the order in which they need to be done. Really think about what is urgent, important and those jobs which will affect others work – if you do your task, 3 other people can get on and do theirs. Don’t just do what is easy on your list because it feels nice to tick it of or you think you are doing lots – it will be at the expense of getting the real important and meaningful work done.
~Writing your lists at the end of the day in preparation for the next day helps you start efficiently and clears your head for the day
3. Early in the day sort email – open up everything so you can see urgent stuff early and prioritize – no surprises at 4pm. Seeing everything early on also gives you time to delegate to others so you’re not giving people tasks at 5pm. If you need to concentrate on a piece of work it is often useful to not check your email for a few hours!
4. 3 minute rule – if you can do it in 3 minutes, just do it. If not add it to your list.
5. Ask lots of questions – when is the deadline? How long will it take to do your bit? People don’t mind you asking lots of questions if it means their task is going to be completed quicker. Get people to write efficient emails if asking for something – use bullet points not long narratives
6. Estimate the time each item on your list will take – even if its 5 minutes – then you will be able to know if you can fit it in today and what is the priority
7. Split jobs up into smaller parts to make it manageable and achieve your to do list today, ie. I have Teachers guide on my list but its split up into many small parts – as small as possible e.g. Check logos with client – 5 minutes. Ask printer delivery time 10 minutes. Check page numbers correct 15 minutes.
8. Know how many working hours you have in a day – On average I have 8 hours to play with in a day – make sure you schedule in 30 minutes for lunch – this is a high priority!
9. Prioritize your health and freedom – you work better when you are healthy, you are the architect of your day. Think about taking a proper 30 minutes away from the desk at lunch, feeling the grass on your toes – gone of topic a bit but make sure you schedule in time –even if 5 minutes to ground your self, get refreshed. Schedule in time outs – walk around compound.
10. Prioritize the big picture – If you are a list person like me there is a danger of feeling like you are accomplishing things because you are ticking of so many things on your list and you feel ‘busy’ but you may not be doing the big meaningful work because your responding to false emergencies. This applies to personal life too. Are you just responding to everyone wanting your time at the expense of you focusing on your longer term goals? You don’t need to respond to EVERYTHING immediately after someone calls you or emails or whatsapps. If it’s important add it to your list and prioritize it or delegate it or if its not important say no, sorry I cannot prioritize that today. Its important to prioritize time to think about your bigger vision and strategic plan. Are we still on track? What lessons are we learning? Put aside 30 mins every week/month to ask are will still aligned to our vision?
Read more about just one of the awesome projects Awamu that Kerry is involved here