As a brand manager, i constantly used to come up with new ideas and then in excitement present it to my seniors. With the same enthusiasm, my seniors used to appreciate it and then give me the responsibility of executing it!
A double edged sword.While coming up with ideas is one thing, executing it was a whole new ball game altogether. Though, it never stopped me from coming up with new ideas every now and then. But slowly my job list was full of many to-do projects!
With almost 10 projects running parallel on any given day, managing them became impossible. Add to that regular office work, checking mails, preparing presentations, attending meeting. After putting in 10-12 hours, i still ended up with the same job sheet of unfinished projects… It was utterly frustrating. Always ended up feeling that nothing was really accomplished. I am sure all of us felt that way at some point of time or other.
It also made me more forgetful. Here i was working on my presentation when i got a call from my boss who requests me to prepare a quick note which is like super urgent. I quickly move on to writing that and by then two or three other distractions happen and i end up forgetting the presentation i was working on. Until someone reminds me that i have to share the same. And it’s too late to a good job by then,
I was not happy with how i was managing all this. But a year ago, i tried a few things and they seemed to have helped me a lot get over this. Thought about sharing this. Many may be already doing it and for me this has been really effective!
I don’t remember the source, must be some magazine/newspaper article or a TV show, which I came across but these three things worked really well.
1) Start To Finish Technique:
What this essentially means is once you begin a task, it should be core focus till its completed. Yes there may be distractions, but try to avoid as much possible. The important thing here is to program yourself to this style of working and then slowly you learn to to avoid distractions skillfully. Yes initially it’s difficult but then it becomes a habit
So if i was replying to a mail, i had this habit of checking any new mails dropping in my inbox. That broke my flow of what i was doing and if this new mail was something urgent i diverted my attention there. But now i avoided it. I never let anything come in my way of completing this email. Even today if someone comes to meet me in my office as i am completing my task i rather make him wait and finish before proceeding to interact with him
Yes there are somethings you still can’t avoid. Like you may get a call which you have to recieve while you are replying to this mail, but because you are programmed to this technique you complete the call, note down the action point in your journal and get back to finish the earlier mail, before taking any actions based on the phone call.
This helped me to accomplish many more things
2) Make a List of to do:
I think this is most important and it deserves separate post altogether but that’s for later. I think the most important change in me after i started my business was to maintain my job list at my workplace.
Without it, i would not have been half as much effective. I actually make two lists. One at the end of day summarizing the key action point which need to be taken next day and reflecting on key task completed as they are fresh in your memeory. And each morning before i check my mail ( yes that’s most important) i prepare my task list categorizing the top 2-3 things to be accomplished before jotting down all the other day to day tasks. A clear list with priorities always helps to channelize the limited amount of time and resource the most productive way
Even phone calls which come during the day and demands actions are best noted down in the list. This way you avoid losing any important piece of information and action from your side
3) Set limited Number of goals:
This was difficult for me as i constantly came up with new ideas and wanted to implement all of them. But at some point this was overwhelming. It actually resulted in me being frustrated that I was not being able to implement stuff. I realized that it’s impossible to achieve so much in so little time. There is no point having 10 things to go for if one can’t even achieve a single thing in the right way. So I decided to focus on only the critical projects one or max two at a time, sacrificing others to prioritize a task ( even though all may be important). I start new projects only after completing the earlier ones. That way each project gets its due share of attention which helps increasing productivity.
And more importantly it gave me satisfaction that it’s done! I realized it’s not the quantity but how many have you been able to complete in the right way. Quantity with quality is always essential. And it should be sustainable
I must mention that i do not claim to have found complete solution to my problem. But following these 3 things have helped me immensely. There are still times when i feel so much is pending. So its always evolving. But i am better off than where i used to be.
There are always new ideas, new techniques and i am constantly looking for ways to improve what i am doing.
I am sure those of you who read this have their own experiences to share on how they have converted their work from chaotic to a more controlled state. I would love to hear from you so that we can collectively share, experience and benefit.
After all its all about what you experience and how you put it to use that matters.