Today, I'm sharing part 2 of this 3-part series on time management. The first topic I touched on was distractions and helping to identify your own distractions to minimize those that are costing you the most productivity in the workplace.
Today, I want to talk about organization, and primarily, prioritization, and how this can benefit you both at home and at work.
At The Center for Sales Strategy, LeadG2, and Up Your Culture, we are firm believers in work-life balance. It's extremely important to the health of the organization and to your health as an individual contributor to the organization. It benefits you to maintain that work-life balance, and make sure you're creating that organization and prioritization on both sides of the equation.
Organizing and Prioritizing
I want to share an idea I got from our VP of Talent Services, Beth Sunshine. A while back, we were at a workshop, and she had a notebook. In the notebook, there was a divide. On one side, there was a list of what she needed to accomplish for work, and on the other side was a list of what she needed to accomplish at home.
This was on a daily basis. I would watch her check things off the list, making sure she's going from one to the other, so that various goals that she knew she needed to accomplish to keep that work-life balance in check, being able to be productive at work and accomplish goals there as well as at home.
I realized at that point is that when you see both, it makes it more difficult to forget one or the other - your personal or your work. I'm sure we can all relate when things are a little crazy at home, and you're feeling a little disorganized, not quite getting done what you need to get done, sometimes that can feed over into your work and productivity in the office. And vice-versa. Things can get crazy in the office, and if things aren't organized there, it can feed over into time at home. And that's not always the best answer either.
So what I've learned from Beth and applied to my process, is to use a whiteboard. If you've watched my videos before, you might have seen the whiteboard in the background.
For the most part, I start my day with my todo list on the whiteboard, a grand scope of what I need to accomplish during the day. Depending on whether I'm in the home office or I'm traveling, I might take a picture of the board before I leave so I can make sure I'm accomplishing everything I need to do so I feel balanced on both sides of the equation.
To break up my list, I highlight work and home, and then I create two levels of priorities:
- Level A - This HAS to get done today, no matter what.
- Level B - The things I'd like to get done today, but if I don't, it's not detrimental.
The thing you need to be conscious of is when you don't get to the B's, be sure to move them to Level A if they need to be there the next day.
I use this chart in sync with my Outlook calendar and my phone, to make sure that anything that is scheduled for a certain time is put into my calendar, then anything that's not necessarily set for a specific time stays on the chart. So, when I don't have an appointment on my calendar or an appointment I set for myself to complete a project, I turn to the chart on the whiteboard to make sure I'm crossing things off the list.
Of course, this is one of many concepts you could try. What I like about this is you can apply this concept to any process that you have, and you're comfortable with. For me, it's a whiteboard. For Beth Sunshine, it's a notebook. A seller I used to manage used color-coded sticky notes on her monitor. There are a lot of different ways you can do this, but I do recommend the four quadrants on the chart that have home/work and A priorities and B priorities. Help keep yourself organized and your tasks prioritized this week.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series focusing on eliminating some of the reactive distractions that come your way - coming next week!