Young Money: Prioritize Prioritizing
blog by Caitlin Campbell McNulty • September 24, 2013 @ 9:54am
For the past few months, I’ve felt as if an eighth day and a 25th hour still wouldn’t give me enough time each week to accomplish everything I needed to – both personally and professionally.
About the time I thought I would lose it permanently, I came to the conclusion that I needed to take a step back, a few deep breaths and start to prioritize everything I was doing.
I could only focus on changing one aspect of my life at a time, so I decided to start with the office and find ways in which I could regain some control over my 9-5 day.
Based on a tip from my boss, the first thing I did was put together a prioritized to-do list. I highlighted what needed to be done yesterday, and in a different color what was a B priority. This way, I could focus on what was really important and not get bogged down in tasks just so I could cross them off my list.
Nothing feels better to me than crossing things off a list (sometimes I even add things to a list when they’re done, just so I can cross them off!), but if it’s not helping you reach your immediate goal, it’s not a productive use of your time.
Next, I printed out a calendar for each day of the week. I broke my day up into one or two hour time slots and scheduled myself in them. I left a little time for doing our company social media in the morning and afternoon, but the rest of the day is portioned out to work on the projects I have on my desk at the time.
I don’t always stick to the day’s plan, but by putting it on a calendar that I can see and touch I have a better idea of what needs to be accomplished. I can also adjust as the week goes on and make sure that each task gets the attention that it needs.
Each night, I take a look at the next day’s schedule and I block out my time. I take a look at what I didn’t get to that day, what really needs to be done the next day and what time I have to do it all in. If I know the next day will be very busy, then I make sure to schedule out a few days ahead.
The calendar certainly doesn’t write my day in stone. Each day changes and there are often things that pop up which you can’t plan for, but it does help me feel like I have a handle on what needs to be taken care of.
Since I’ve made these two small changes to my day, I’ve become more productive, less stressed, and feel like I’m accomplishing what I need to, when I need to. You don’t have to get as detailed as I do, but find something that works for you. We all become more productive if we take a step back and reassess what really needs to be done, not what we feel like doing, each day.
Have more tips for making the most of your work day? Leave them in the comments below so other young pro’s can benefit from your hard earned wisdom!