Imagine this scenario: You have an overview of all your tasks. You are always on top of your appointments. You are in control of all your paper, calendar appointments, tasks and notes. You feel that you have an overview of all your good ideas and you have the energy to go on the weekend with a good conscience and be present when you get home to your family. Do you remember the last time you felt that way? If you are like the majority of other people, it’s a while ago. There is a possibility that you cannot even remember the last time it looked like this.
We have written this blog post for those who have lost track and want to get back to the good and healthy work habits. We believe that if you implement these 3 easy routines, you are on your way. Below you can see the 3 routines that we recommend you should start with.
Get your email in order
Emails are one of the biggest time-wasters for most people. Often our customers receive somewhere between 20 and 50 emails a day. With that amount of incoming emails everyday it can be a problem to keep up. We recommend that you implement a routine that makes it easier for you. Below is our workflow when we receive an email:
- Decide whether there is a task in your email
- If there is a task in the email you can either delete it or save it
- If there is a task in the email and it takes less than 2 minutes to make, you can do it immediately
- If it takes more than 2 minutes you move it to your task list and archive the email
If you do through the workflow above you will end up having only one place for your tasks – your task list – and have your inbox with zero emails. If the task takes less than two minutes it makes no sense to write it on a to-do list and you should solve it instead. Now you have an inbox with zero emails in it and you can start the task that makes the most sense to you.
Empty your mind
If you have better control of your email inbox, you will usually get a better overview. Another way to get a better overview is to implement a routine, which makes sure that you get your tasks out of your head. Spend 10 or 15 minutes a day to brainstorm all the tasks that you have. Write down all the tasks on a piece of paper. When you have finished writing down all your thoughts then you write them on your task list. We prefer to do this exercise at the end of the day, so you have a good overview before you go home from work. Below is the workflow, we suggest that you implement as a routine every day:
- Sit down with a paper and a pen
- Spend 10-15 minutes to get all the tasks out of your head and onto a piece of paper
- Transfer all your tasks to your to-do list
If you do this exercise on a daily basis you will be able to get a better overview of your tasks in no time.
Manage your papers
The last routine that we often recommend to implement is a way to organise yourself with paper. If you are like many other people, you have some paper in your everyday life that you need to be in control of. Colleagues putting piles of paper on your desk, cupboard and other places they can find. We recommend that you have a physical inbox, which you can use as a place to put the paper from your colleagues. It will mean that all incoming paper is handed to you in the same place. One time a day you use the following routine to get to the bottom of the papers:
- Decide if there is a job to do or not
- If there is a task you can either archive or save it
- If there is a task, and it takes less than 2 minutes to solve, do it.
- If it takes more than 2 minutes, then you write it on your task list and file the papers until you start the job
The routine is very similar to the way you should handle your emails.
Now you are equipped with 3 easy and effective routines which will create a better overview in the short and long term. If you have any questions or ideas for other routines you are welcome to join the discussion on our forum here.