Getting organised in 18 minutes

Organisation yourself at work. Seems simple enough doesn’t it.

Go to work, create a task list, work your way through it, and then go home.

Hmmm – but it never works out that way does it.

I ended up stuck in a rut working the same way every day, not feeling a complete sense of achievement when I went home, as I hadn’t been able to complete the tasks that I had set for that day in Outlook. What I seemed to be doing was opening and postponing a lot of tasks to another day, not actually completing that many. There were too many interruptions, urgent emails, meetings etc that seemed to get in the way.

It wasn’t very satisfying but I didn’t have the time to step back and think about why. And that is the problem – I couldn’t seem to try to find the time to help me manage my time!

Then, I was offered the chance to attend an on-line management course, run by my company in conjunction with a leading university. I had to commit the time to attend the webinars, and I had to commit the time to do the pre-webinar modules. When I started, I found it really enjoyable, learning from the first course how to make changes to how I manage myself, my team, set goals etc, and I consciously made the time for the work, doing some on Saturdays so that I wouldn’t rush them.

Towards the end we had a talk from @peterbregman, who explained about finding our focus using 18 minutes a day. Suffice to say that I ordered his book immediately (http://www.amazon.co.uk/18-Minutes-Master-Distraction-Things/dp/1409135187). Without giving too much away, I put into place his suggestions for the beginning and end of each day, and saw the benefits when I started to actually see that I was clearing tasks, not postponing them. I also followed his guidance on avoiding trying to multi-task (we cant do this as humans, not just men, as we context switch) so I wasn’t wasting time trying to go back and forward between tasks.

It has made a huge difference. I now plan my day – I check emails after a few minutes, once I am ready and have an idea how I am going to tackle the day, and it absolutely works!

So……here is my final thought. Thinking about it, what Peter is giving us is basic common sense advice, so why oh why did I not think of this for myself ages ago???

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