This is the first in a series of tips about Workplace Productivity. If you want to get noticed, promoted, a pay rise or simple get out of the door quicker at the end of the day then these may be helpful.
Get a system in place for recording your task list / projects / todo. It must be :-
There should be no opportunity for items to be forgotten, skipped or missed. If it’s on your list then it gets actioned (even if that action is to discard it). There is nothing worse than hearing someone saying ‘oh yeah, I forgot about that’ – it makes me think you didn’t my request seriously. Even worse is hearing someone saying ‘oh yeah, I wrote that down somewhere but lost it’ – that makes me think you’re an absent minded fool that I shouldn’t even trust to make a list correctly.
Easy To Use
You don’t want to create extra work for yourself, it’s about productivity. If it takes longer than a few seconds to jot down a new task or action a task then it’s not efficient. Likewise the organization / management of that list should not require more than a couple of minutes a day.
If it’s not to hand then it wont get used. Keep it close, take it with you to meetings, keep it open on your desk. For electronic systems if it requires hunting through 3 levels of start menu, opening the app, putting it in the right mode, waiting for the most recent list to load etc then it’s not something you’ll use to take ‘quick’ notes.
- People get annoyed at others in a meeting typing away on a laptop. There is always a suspicion that your updating Facebook, checking mail or whatever (especially if you laugh/snigger at something).
- A paper notebook is considerably easier to carry around (less cables). If you don’t always carry your laptop around (and in a state that can be working within a few seconds) then you have to rely on memory to record tasks – this doesn’t work.
- I never annoy everyone in a meeting by having to get up, fiddle about in my bag for a power block, move chairs around to find a socket and get some juice into my laptop before the final 4% of battery life fade.
- There is a certain satisfaction to seeing a number of items crossed off a list (as opposed to just a shorter list). It gives much more of an impression of getting through your workload, than a view of just a smaller workload ahead of you.
A task is done if it is checked, has been discarded if it is crossed and if it has a right pointing arrow against it then it has been ‘carried forward’ to another page / task list. this way I know that looking back to any older page, every line should have a sign against it (it is easily visible if any do not, so nothing slips through a gap).
A couple of other indicators I use are peoples initials if I have delegated to them or am awaiting a response and to the right of the task 9where I often make additional task notes, I put a date in square brackets if it has a deadline.
Simple, but effective. What system do you use ??