Before the holidays, I had some unfinished work, so when I went back to start working again, I immediately put my mind to getting them all done before my daily tasks. Then, I noticed that the ton of work I had to do didn’t seem to be decreasing. It was just piling up one after another.
I was productive but why did it seem like I wasn’t able to catch up with work? I must’ve been doing something wrong, I thought, and I was. I was being productive, but it wasn’t enough. I needed to maximize productivity if I was to finish all my back-logged work and still manage to perform my daily tasks. If you have the same predicament as I had, here’s what you can do to maximize your productivity.
Make a List
Make a list of the tasks you have to do. I know you have an idea of what you’re up against, but in order to ensure that you won’t forget anything, write it on paper or on your preferred device. Better safe than sorry.
After I made my list, I decided to sort it according to priorities. I suggest you do the same. You want to do so, because in my case, my list contained all of my tasks: the ones to catch up on and to do on a daily basis. Now, you can just imagine how many those were. In order to avoid panicking and getting overwhelmed over the mountain of work I was faced with, I trimmed that list down and sorted it by priority. Which tasks should be completed right away and which one can be done at a later time.
Decide the Plan of Action
As soon as you finish sorting your tasks, you will then see which to complete first. This is then the time for you to think of your plan of action. You can either do the backed up tasks first or perform your daily work first. You have to remember that the goal is to complete backed up tasks and not compromise performing daily duties. If you keep that goal in mind, you can come up with your next move. Write the pros and cons, and decide on which will work for you.
In my case, doing the former didn’t work so well for me as I ended up not being able to perform my daily tasks. Hence, I decided to focus on completing my daily work first and then working on the backed up tasks. This method allowed me to eliminate more work piling up, and though the progress was slow on the backed up tasks, I was still able to complete them.
Just a word of caution, consider the deadlines for each task you have to make. If they are way overdue, finish them first or put in some extra hours in order to finish it along with doing your daily duties. Be careful though. Putting in extra hours does not always guarantee good output as stress can be painful to the mind and body.
Right about this point, you have a plan of action, but how will you complete all those tasks without extending your stay in the office? The key is focus and working on the right tasks. This is where your priority list comes in. Pick out the specific things you have to accomplish for the day, not necessarily those that you what you want to do. Work on the tasks that need to be accomplished. Eliminate other activities that will only eat at your time. Shorten breaks and save chitchat for after work hours only.
Set the Foundation
In order to make this work for you, before you go ahead with your plan, ensure that you’ve set up your foundation for work. That is, the things that will shield you from procrastination and will motivate you to do your job. There are basically two key elements to your foundation:
Self – Make sure you are in tiptop condition to perform. That means you are well rested, had a good and healthy breakfast, exercised a bit, and you are in a good mood. If you aren’t in your best shape, having the best plan of action to complete your tasks is useless, because you won’t be able to perform at all.
Environment – Ensure that your environment is distraction free and is conducive for work. Eliminate all things that you will not use for work. Set your environment according to your preferred atmosphere of a work-conducive space. If you prefer to have music in the background while you work, play music on your headphones. Otherwise, keep it silent, bright, and clean.
After you’ve set up your foundation, getting to your plan of action will come easy for you. However, you might run into another kind of distraction along the way. Despite eliminating all possible distractions from your environment, there is one distraction that you might not be able to completely eliminate because it’s always with you, your mind. Things will pop up every now and then, and if you allow yourself to entertain these thoughts, you’ll lose focus and trail off to Fantasy Land. The solution is to write them on paper. As soon as you consider a different kind of idea from what you are doing, scribble that on a separate notepad. This way, you don’t reject and forget about your creative ideas. Additionally, you can get back to them after work is finished.
Now, you don’t necessarily have to do everything in this article. Look at how you normally do things and compare them with mine. Adapt those that you think will work for you and adjust those that don’t. Be creative. Think of how to be productive and still be happy at the end of the day. If you do that, you can’t go wrong with whatever method you’ll come up with. Good luck and I hope this article was helpful.
What do you normally do when you’re backed up with tasks? Share your comments in the box below.