Any “to-do” list can be daunting. However, work plans can be even more challenging to complete than the average task list. Often, one starts on a task and then gets interrupted by an email, customer call, meeting, or coworker. By the end of the day, many employees are lucky if they complete even half of their to-do’s.
Turn Your “To Do’s” into “Dones”
It is possible to wrap up your list and get every task completed. Here is a quick “how to” for any employee, business owner, or entrepreneur.
Set your goals
Before writing a daily, weekly, or monthly task list, it’s essential to define your goal. Ask yourself “What am I trying to accomplish today/this week/this month?”
This should be an overarching, big picture goal like “Meet my sales quota today,” or “Launch ABC product this month.” Defining your big picture goal allows you to map out how to will get from A-B, determine the amount of time each task will take, and create a realistic task list from there.
Block out time
The average person gets interrupted every eight minutes during their workday. That’s sixty interruptions a day. Try to change this average by blocking out time to complete high-priority tasks. During this period, turn your phone to airplane mode, close your email, turn off your notifications, shut your office door, and get focused on the task ahead.
There are several techniques that you can use to avoid interruptions. Here are just a few:
- Make the blocked out time slot a routine. That way everyone in the office knows that you will be unavailable between 1-2 PM or some such time.
- Create auto responses that can easily be turned on during this period.
- Make a sign that you can put on the back of your chair or on your door that simply reads “Do not disturb until 2 PM.”
- Set an alarm so that you aren’t watching the clock or tempted to check in on your intraoffice instant messaging app or email until it’s actually the end of your block.
Evaluate your day
If you don’t get your list done during the day, think about why. Did you get interrupted? Did you interrupt yourself and get stretched too thin? Were there any avoidable meetings? Did you get caught up in minutiae that someone else should have handled? Was your task list unrealistic to complete within an 8 hour day?
Take a good look at your whole day and decide what can be changed so that you can accomplish your list in the future.
Delegate what you can
Some executives, small business owners, and entrepreneurs want to be involved in every aspect of the company. However, this can work against you as you delve into different departments or teams and don’t complete your own work.
Decide what tasks others should take on and give those projects to them. Then sit back and let your team take the wheel while you complete your own task list.
Create a realistic task list
Finally, if you still are not completing your tasks, it’s important to consider whether your list is something you alone can accomplish within the designated period of time. It can be demoralizing and exhausting to try to accomplish a week’s worth of work in one day.
Instead, set reasonable expectations, deadlines, and timelines to ensure tasks get completed within the appropriate time period. If your daily task list is forty hours long, make it a weekly task list and break it down into daily tasks from there. In this way, you will be able to complete the overall list AND your daily to-dos, which is very satisfying. Business Success Consulting Group is here to help you build a thriving business. Create a more efficient, effective business model by clicking here and filling out our free efficiency evaluation. You may be surprised by what you learn!