Manage your daily tasks
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR DAILY TASKS, AND REDUCE STRESS
When Google pops up a reminder to attend to the important task we diarized yesterday, we have two options. The ideal would be to stop what we are doing and switch to the other one. But that almost never happens. We invariably take the second route; heave a sigh, delete the reminder, make a mental note to do it later, and carry on with the job at hand. Procrastination is the biggest enemy of time management.
Fortunately, though, things do somehow eventually get done, but each time it means pushing off something else. This domino effect inevitably breeds stress, something none of us want in our lives.
So how do we go about filling each day in an orderly way?
Managing tasks isn’t about squeezing as many as possible into the day. It’s about simplifying the way we work, getting things done more efficiently, and thereby relieving stress.
Let’s take a look at some of the areas where we can hopefully achieve this.
MANAGE YOUR WORK
Each day, before you start, identify the two or three tasks that are the most crucial to complete, and first get those done.
Do that, and your day is going to be a success. With the remaining time, you can move on to other things, or you can even push them off for a day. At least you’ve finished the essential ones.
How do you identify these tasks?
To know which tasks are the really important ones you must learn to prioritize. While it is the less comfortable route, the experts say you should first opt for the more difficult ones and get them completed while you are fresh, and the day is young. Do that, and the rest of the day is going to be a walk in the park.
Once you’ve decided where to start, devote your entire focus to that task and nothing else
Close down the multiple other browser windows. Put your phone on silent, even better, get it out of sight. Turn off the background music or podcast you were listening to, and concentrate. Immerse yourself. Nothing else should exist.
Do yourself a favor and learn to say “no”
The second biggest enemy to time management is giving in to that unexpected urgent text or email that comes out of left field. Don’t let yourself be pressurized into putting everything aside to attend to it. Doing so is just going to put everything else further behind. Learn to delay the new one, and complete the current tasks at hand first, unless it is a true emergency. But you must be able to honestly assess that before making a “u” turn.
Don’t allow extraneous details to drag you down
So, you’ve identified the tasks for the day, shut out the distractions and you’re hard at it. What else could go wrong? Then a notification pops up on your desktop that has no relevance to what you are doing, but you can’t resist checking to see what it’s about. Half an hour later you’re still reading what google says about it, and so it goes. The result is that we can end up taking twice as long to get the project done for no reason at all.
Make a time limit in which to complete the task at hand
Resist the impulse to keep revising. Being a perfectionist has its time and place, but rather move on and get the bulk of the work completed, and then come back to check, correct, hone, and edit.
Decide that you are going to get the work completed by a certain point in time. This will push you to focus and be more efficient, even if you end up having to go back to touch things up later.
Don’t try and finish it all in one session
Never focus on the totality of your to-do list; the only result will be to overwhelm yourself. Worrying won’t make it shorter. The answer is to take it one step at a time.
One of the worst ways to stress yourself is to think about your massive task list. No amount of thought will make it any shorter, rather approach it focused on one single item. Once it’s accomplished you can move on to the next, but always approach them one at a time. This way you can increase productivity while at the same time reducing stress and anxiety.
Remember to take a rest break between tasks
When a task is completed, remember that rushing straight to the next one is never a good idea. Give yourself a break. Relax. Maybe do some breathing exercises or meditate. Move around, take a short walk, have a drink and maybe a snack.
The goal is to clear your mind completely. In that way you will be able to come back refreshed, relaxed, and able to focus properly on the task ahead. Learn to do this and you will find yourself more motivated and ultimately more satisfied with your progress. Your workday will be less stressful, more productive and more manageable, something we’d all like to achieve with our daily workload.