“The best way to effectively use time is to schedule it.” —Sunday Adelaja
Write All of It Down
First of all, don’t underestimate the power of physically writing things down. The greatest benefit of writing down all of your project ideas, reminders, appointments, etc. is that the physical action of writing it forces you to engage with it mentally, making it more likely to stay in the forefront of your mind.
It’s not enough to plaster your desk with sticky notes; you really have to plot out your day thoughtfully, especially if you’re not inherently an organized person.
It Only Works if You Adhere to It
Writing something down is only the first step. Let’s say you’ve got a full schedule laid out for the day in your daily planner or in your calendar software. It might as well be an art piece at this point because if it’s not something you strictly follow, then it isn’t doing you any good. Your schedule will actually enrich your day if you account for every minute of the day and follow it as closely as you can.
The idea is to not push anything back, if possible. There’s a great sense of satisfaction in completing everything you set out to do, not to mention that you’ll be more productive on a daily basis. Easier said than done, of course.
Are You a Natural?
If you’re thinking, “I don’t have every minute of my day written out, and I don’t feel like I need that,” then you really may not need it. Some of us can stay on task and get it all done, without the assistance of multiple reminders to get everything accomplished; the rest of us need those reminders.
If you’re not a natural, then it definitely behooves you to set those reminders; the trick is just to know your own ability.
Set Alarms for Everything
So, if you are indeed the type of person who can’t keep it all straight in your head, this is something that can greatly benefit you; you may or may not already use this tool. Set alarms, for high priority items, at least. A lot of scheduling/calendar software have these alarms built in, and all you have to do is activate them for any items that you want.
If using software isn’t your style, then you can easily do the same thing on your smartphone. It’s not for everybody; enduring reminder alarms all day long might also spike your blood pressure from the aggravation, in which case this next option may be a better fit.
Get Yourself a Board
A simple whiteboard may be just the solution you need, and the best part is that it won’t yell at you every 30 minutes with alarms. The same principle applies, however, if you train yourself to continually watch the board throughout your day to make sure you stay on task.
Again, the best way to make it work for you is to account for all of your time during the workday, not just your appointments and meetings. You may be surprised how much it can help to simply keep the day’s tasks right up there in front of you, rather than scribbled down in some notebook.
These suggestions are not revolutionary, and in fact, you’re probably already well-aware of these productivity tools and many others. The point here really is the discipline of it—to not only write down everything that needs to get done in the day, but to actually follow through on all of it.
When you start checking off everything on your list without allowing yourself to be distracted, that is when you can meet your full potential of productivity.