Now that you have a well organised work environment it’s time to maximise the benefits that the business receives from that, and that means organising you! Now it’s time to lift your productivity too!
Luckily that’s not as difficult as it sounds.
The basics are having a way to schedule your time, and sticking to that schedule. Life doesn’t allow a 100% accurate prediction of what you will be doing every moment of every day, so be prepared for your planned schedule to need resuscitation from time to time!
That just means that your phone can ring at an inopportune time, you can miss a meeting because the other person doesn’t show, or some equipment can break down just when you need it most. Some people call this Murphy’s Law, though quite why Murphy would want a law like this I don’t know.
The real point is that if you have a diary and your schedule is documented then you can easily identify what tasks need to be rearranged to accommodate the latest deviation from the plan.
With that knowledge you can schedule remediation or replacement tasks so that your high priority tasks are completed as soon as possible and the lower priority tasks slip in line with their lower priority.
Some people prefer a paper diary, and they come in a variety of styles and sizes. They can be a week to a view (a full week is visible in one opening), a single day to a page, a month to a view and the diaries can be small enough to fit in your pocket or large enough to cover half a desk.
Others prefer electronic diaries, either as a stand alone device or incorporated in another device such as a mobile phone. You can also have an electronic diary that stores the information locally (meaning on your computer’s hard drive for example) or one that stores the information “in the cloud”, which just means it is on the internet somewhere. There are lots of companies that offer these services, a quick internet search will identify them.
Electronic diaries have an advantage over paper diaries in that they can display the information by day, week or month at the click of a button. Paper diaries are of course limited to whatever format they are.
There is one feature that your diary must have, however, and that is being able to write or enter the information just once. That is – only once. I have seen systems where the schedule had to be written down three times – on the day it was actually scheduled and on several longer timeframe views. I believe that is too much effort going to maintaining a schedule, and that takes time away from being directly productive.
Do you keep a diary, or do you maintain your schedule some other way? Do you have examples of how having a diary saved your bacon or where it cost you a bomb? Either way – we’d like to hear about your experiences with keeping a schedule.