We've all been there, right? We think we have enough time in a workday to complete our to-do list and the next thing we know it's 5 o'clock, we've been pulled in 1,323,543 different directions and we made little to no progress on our to-do lists. Now that I'm back in my work routine, and more importantly, back working in the office I need to keep my workdays organized and productive.
Here are my tips for taking control of my workdays!
🔹 Do Not Disturb
Personally, I use my laptop and my phone for many work-related tasks during the day. It's nice that I'm able to do a lot of my work like that, but it also means I'm seeing every text, DM, and other notification that comes through.
Even if I don't open my texts or my Snapchat, the notifications can really throw off my routine and distract me from whatever I'm doing.
That's why I love the Do Not Disturb feature! I've been turning Do Not Disturb on before I walk in the door and that way even when I need to pull my phone out to use a timer or get some photos/videos I don't have to worry about my notifications!
🔹 Time Batch, Time Batch, Time Batch
It's so hard to spend the day jumping between all of your tasks. Not to mention, trying to do too many things at once inevitably leads to more mistakes or missed details. That's why I love time batching. I'm sure you've all heard of it, but if not - trust me, you'll want to try it.
It's the easiest time management hack out there and it takes no time to implement. Essentially you designate a certain amount of time (a few minutes, hours, days, etc.) to a certain task, and - here's the key - only that assigned task! Trust me when I tell you, this is going to help you, big time!
I time batch everything, from training sessions and meetings at my full-time job, to blog posts and content shoots for the Blog. It's been such a lifesaver when it comes to keeping me on track with everything I need to get done!
🔹 Don't Let Your Inbox Control Your Day
These days it feels like people want answers instantly. I mean, it makes sense, we're so used to everything being fast-paced but it can make for a crazy workday. To me, there's nothing worse than being in the middle of something and getting distracted by an email that comes in. That's why I've stopped keeping my email open.
I'm serious. I used to keep the tab open on my computer all day, until I found that I spend more time refreshing it and trying to get an answer to someone quickly, instead of getting things done.
Now, I open my email for 10 minutes every hour. This gives me the chance to read, respond and delete. Plus it helps organize the rest of my day. Typically, I read all of my emails first. Then whatever I can delete, gets put in the trash, and whatever I can respond to quickly gets a response. Anything that needs a longer answer or requires me to look into something get's added to my to-do list.
This control over my inbox ultimately helps me control my entire day because I'm able to keep a dynamic to-do list and prioritize tasks as things arise!
🔹 Schedule Everything in Your Calendar (and share it)
It's so hard to keep everyone's schedules straight and trying to schedule meetings that fit into everyone's day is usually a whole process. It's even worse when you aren't sure what you have going on or what someone else has going on.
There are even times where you may not have a meeting but you really need an hour to get something done. Add it to the calendar!
I've always had a bit of an obsession with my calendars and my planners. But, they help keep me focused and in control at work. At the end of each week, I'll take an hour and roughly plan out the following week in my planner. Meetings or other events that can't get moved get added in and shared on my public calendar, so my coworkers can see them. Other tasks and projects I keep in my planner. Then each morning, I look at what needs to get done, and my schedule for the day and fill in the holes with tasks from my various to-do lists.
Now, here's the key - I share my calendar with everyone at work. I know, some people don't want everyone to know what they're doing every second of every day. Neither do I. That's why I love Google calendar. See on my personal calendar I can fill in what projects I'm working on, etc. in the notes section that's only seen by me. But, I can block my schedule out so people see I'm busy during those times. Plus, it automatically declines meeting requests for me if I'm out of the office, etc.
Most companies these days are using some form of shared calendars, whether it's Google calendar, Microsoft, even Apple calendars! So take advantage of them! Trust me they're fantastic! I even add my lunch break on my calendar - just so people don't try and schedule a lunch meeting with me without checking!
🔹 Keep Your Space Clean, Clutter-Free, and Personalize Where You Can
Have you ever been in the middle of a project for work, school, etc., and lost a notes sheet or certain item you can't finish the project without? Yeah, been there, done that, and it's awful! You waste time looking for it and get more and more aggravated that by the time you either give up or find it, you can't focus. Told you, been there, done that.
That's why my workspace has to be organized. Now, the rest of my life might be a disaster (my car - I'm trying to get better - my purse, etc.) but my desk, that stays spotless!
Even right now, while I'm in the process of renovating my entire office, I keep the space I'm working in as clean as possible. I've got organizers in/on my desk, I use as much wall space as possible to hang stuff and I know where everything is. It just makes life so much easier.
There's also a huge benefit in making your workspace feel like your space. I'm so fortunate to work in a place where my boss lets us personalize our space and make most, if not all, of the aesthetic decisions for the office. Plus I share an office with the coolest people so it makes it easy to personalize it to fit all of our personalities! I just think adding some pictures, or something that makes it feel a little unique helps you feel good about being at work! Plus, why not decorate?
I'm planning to do a whole post on my work desk as soon as it's done - so stay tuned for that!
🔹 Take Your Lunch Break
I cannot stress this enough. You need to take a break during the day! That's why they have lunch breaks! I'm so over the whole concept of hustle culture and working through lunch (I'll dive into that in another post too). As someone who fell into this idea of thinking during my first few jobs, I can tell you, the only thing this gets you is a one-way ticket to a massive burn-out.
Everyone needs a break during the day. Sure, you may feel like you can just keep going but by the end of the day, your work is going to suffer - trust me!
Take your lunch break and if you can get out of your office or place of work! Go for a drive, grab a coffee, take a walk. Whatever it is give yourself some personal time before jumping back into your next meeting or project. I promise it'll help you get through the day!
There you have it! How I take control of my workday! Do you have any tips? Is there any work content you want to see? Share them and let me know on my latest Instagram!