Practical Productivity: How to Effectively Manage Your Tasks
By: Katie Bivens July 18, 2018
In a day and age where people seem busier and more distracted than ever, it can be difficult to manage your time and to-do list well. Being productive can be even more challenging when you’re on a church staff wearing many different hats as team members in ministry tend to do. However, there are a few practices that can be implemented to help individuals make the most efficient use of their time.
Here are five strategies that will help you be productive and stay on task.
1. Make A Weekly List
When you arrive at work on a Monday morning, the first thing you’re likely tempted to do is dive into email. Instead, take a look at your calendar. Write out all the tasks that need to be completed in the week. Sometimes we know we have a ton to do, but if it stays jumbled up inside of our heads, nothing will actually ever get done. Getting it out in list form, whether virtual or paper, will help prioritize tasks throughout the week so you can get started on the right foot.
2. Parse Your Weekly List Out Into A Daily List
Next, rather than trying to tackle your weekly list all at once, parse it out into a daily list. Trying to champion a long to-do list can feel a lot like chipping away at a giant iceberg, which as you can imagine, can feel overwhelming. Instead, set small goals for yourself so that you can feel accomplished at the end of each day. (Better than feeling like you haven’t done anything at all that day, right?)
3. Prioritize Your Tasks
Beyond separating your to-dos into a daily checklist, prioritize them even further by putting them in a specific order. This can look different depending on your personality type. You might want to prioritize them based on how much time each task will take. For example: you may prefer to first complete a quick project that you know you can knock out in 10-20 minutes and then move on to a lengthier project that may take an hour or two. Counterbalancing quick projects with more time-consuming ones not only breaks up your day but also makes you feel productive as you mark things off of your to-do list. Another option would be to prioritize tasks from most important to least important as you move throughout your day. There are options abound where being productive is involved.
"Counterbalancing quick projects with more time-consuming ones not only breaks up your day but also makes you feel productive as you mark things off of your to-do list."
4. Calendar Block
It's so easy to let your day slip away without checking everything off of your list. Consider doing some calendar blocking to keep you on task. Think about your time and your calendar as if you’re thinking about money and a budget. You need to know where each dollar goes or you run the risk of losing track and overdrawing your account. The same thing can happen with your time. If you don't have a designated spot for all your minutes, you run the risk of time falling into an ominous abyss of "what did I do today?" Try to schedule each hour of your workday out so it is designated to a particular task (even checking email!). This is not only a great way to stay on task, but it also prompts you to sit down and conquer the necessary, yet undesirable projects.
"If you don't have a designated spot for all your minutes, you run the risk of wasting time and it falling into some ominous abyss of 'what did I do today?'"
5. Set Yourself Up For Success
Last but not least, set yourself up for a successful day. If you have an extremely tedious project that requires laser-focused concentration, move to a quiet corner or an area with little distraction. If you can't physically move your workspace, consider listening to music so you can block out external noise and get your project done. Be proactive in setting yourself up to be the most productive you can be. You'll feel better, and chances are your supervisor will think you're pretty great, too.
What are some other tactics you use to stay on task in a busy workday?