Five helpful hacks for staying organised when work gets hectic
Do you often find yourself chasing your tail at work? You’re too busy to get everything you need done, and feel panicked and out of control.
When we have adequate time to complete all our tasks in a leisurely fashion, to the standard we’d like work is wonderful. But sadly for most of us, this is a rare luxury.
What is more likely to be the norm is trying to squash down an omnipresent feeling of panic as we wonder how we’ll get everything we need to completed that day. And regrettably rushing jobs we’d love to spend more time on and complete more thoroughly as we just don’t have the time.
Or worse, having to overlook ‘nice-to-do’ tasks that give us satisfaction and will help our career or business because there isn’t realistically room in your schedule for them.
So what can you do? While we can’t magic extra hours in your day, or clone you so you can get more done, we can share five helpful hacks that will enable you to work smartly when you can, and be more productive and relaxed.
1) Always be proactive
Nothing feels better than being ahead of schedule, and one of the best ways to do this is by being proactive and working on tasks whenever you have a bit of time to spare.
So if someone unexpectedly cancels a meeting, you get into work earlier than usual, or buy yourself half an hour by finishing a job or meeting early, make good use of that time.
It’s always better to be proactive rather than panicking and rushing at the last minute. So use any spare time to complete tasks that you don’t actually need to finish until the following day or the following week, and buy yourself some breathing space.
Working calmly in advance (rather than rushing in a last minute panic) will also improve your quality of work, which should enable you to reap benefits in the future.
2) Automate when possible
While putting in effort at work is important, a hectic schedule does mean you should do what you can to work smarter, rather than harder.
And one way you can do so is by taking advantage of automation wherever possible. Applying automation to out-of-office and mass emails using tools like MailChimp is something many of us are accustomed to. However, there are other automation tools like Hootsuite, which are great for leveraging newsletters, social media posts, etc.
This is definitely something worth considering, and is worth the effort in setting up, as it can save you time, and make it easier to plan ahead and ensure you complete everything you need to.
3) Plan your day
Planning each day in advance, and creating a to-do list that you can follow, is a great way to remain organized and to ensure you complete everything that you need to do.
Most of us will forget things when we are busy and don’t write them down, which is why this hack is a useful way to prevent that from happening.
To make it easy to plan your day you can download apps. If you prefer writing things down pen to paper, then consider getting yourself a pocket-sized notebook that you can easily carry around with you. Or buy a dedicated to-do list pad.
4) Pre-write your emails
To reduce the amount of work you have during the nights and on weekends, you need to make sure you set boundaries with your clients to make sure they have a realistic expectation of the times they can get in contact with you.
If you know you have a busy day the next day, then drafting your emails the night before, and leaving them in your outbox, makes sending them the next day a lot easier and hassle-free.
This requires you to be proactive, but it will make your busy morning a little less stressful. It also helps ensure you don’t disturb somebody else’s time during the evenings.
Another really helpful email hack is to create templates of emails you often find yourself writing. So, for example, if you have a standard reply to enquiries or for sending quotes, create an email template for it.
This will save precious minutes writing the same email out each time. Not only will this mean you can squeeze these emails into your busy day more easily, but collectively over a year they’ll save hours of work.
5) Use electronic calendars
Using an electronic calendar is a brilliant way to remain organized. You can set reminders, invite guests to events, and easily access every detail of your schedule, no matter where you are.
Google Calendar is a great example. Plus, it has the benefit of being able to integrate with your Gmail account. You can also make use of a tool for exporting Google Calendar to Excel, called Time Tackle if you want to extract, transform and analyze electronic calendar data in new innovative ways.
Find a routine that works for you
Not all of these hacks will work in the same way for everyone. But if you want to save time and be more organized, then it’s worth investing the time to work out what does work for you, and setting it up.
Once you get into a good routine with carefully created shortcuts, you’ll be able to work more efficiently, to a higher standard, feel more relaxed and in control, and have more time to spare.
Photo by RODOLFO BARRETO