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How Will You Spend Your Day at Work?

female-project-manager-considering-how-to-spend-her-dayWhen you are in the midst of a busy project your days can fly by in the blink of an eye. In my experience it can be extremely stressful to discover that it is now 11 o’clock, you haven’t done anything you had planned to do in the first couple of hours at work and the coffee which has been on your desk for two hours is now stone cold.

So how you can organise your day in order to spend your time in a better way? I have never found a scientific way of doing this but here are the tips I have picked up over the years.

Prioritize the Tasks

It kind of makes sense to do the urgent stuff first, doesn’t it? So why don’t we always do it? I am pretty sure that I am not the only person who sometimes gets towards the end of the day and realizes that I still have some urgent stuff to finish before I can go home. The best answer I can find to this problem is to prioritise the tasks. Actually, prioritising them is just the first step, as you then need to act on your list of priorities. If you do this then you should make sure that you get all of the most important stuff done. Of course, the reason we put off these important tasks in the first place is often that they are difficult or could potentially put into conflict with stakeholders, for example. You might think that it is best to put them on hold but if you do this then they will be at the back of your mind gnawing at you until you do them. If you just get them over and done with at the right time you will feel a lot better and get on with the rest of your day in a better frame of mind.

Lead Your Team

If you are under pressure to do your own tasks all day then the people who might suffer most are your team members. When you are working your way through a heavy workload it can be hard to find the time to speak to the people working for you. I have even known project managers who seem to completely forget about the existence of their team when they get really busy. One approach you try is to make speaking to the rest of the team a set part of your day. Some project managers do a walk around their office at the start of each day and spend a few minutes talking to each person. This is as fine idea although after a while your team might see it as you just fulfilling some sort of daily obligation instead of taking a genuine interest in them and their work. Perhaps a better idea is to do the same sort of thing but vary the time that you do it so that it looks more like a spontaneous sort of action on your behalf. As long as you get into the habit of doing it I don’t think it really matter at what time of day you do it.

Deal with Recurring Tasks

The previous point is a good example of the benefits of setting up recurring tasks. If you do something every single day then you are more likely to get into a habit and do it all the time. I always use the calendar on my PC to set up recurring tasks, even when I know that it is almost impossible for me to forget about them. I just think that the fact that I get a little reminder flashing up on the screen means that I can completely put it out of my mind until it pops up. The second part of this approach is to make sure that you pay attention to those little reminders. It won’t do you any good having an on screen reminder if you just cancel it or postpone it for a day. This way of organising your day is great for making sure that you deal with recurring tasks such as sending out project status updates and organising the team meeting. However, you could also go a step further and incorporate other tasks into this way of planning your day. It might work for you and make your life that little bit easier if you work out in advance what you need to do each week or day and then set aside the time to do it.

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