Back in the Fourth Grade I remember the class, “Study Skills.” It was the first time I recall being taught the concepts behind good learning, good practice, instead of the topics themselves.
From then until now I’ve been on a periodic yet constant journey of trying to make the most of my time. I’ve found repeatedly that I get a buzz from the organizational effort, the IDEA of organizing things. But the proof is in the pudding, in the habits you create and then stick-to to get your work done. That’s where the magic, where the peace of mind, where the productivity is.
And here I am again, fine-tuning, recommitting, adjusting my practice to be more productive. Work Life has morphed to where I MUST tighten up my practice, because it’s a little too loose and floppy just now. And floppy and loose is no place to be when work gets busy.
The fundamental lesson just now is this:
Use the most simple and reliable tools to manage your activities to be effective and productive.
Technology is cool and can certainly make you more productive and efficient.
The To-Do / Task List on Microsoft Outlook is a GREAT tool. Integrated into the email client tens of millions of folks use at work, it’s a fantastic way to harness the information already in email to organize, remind on, and tackle work tasks.
That said, it’s not as effective as a pad of paper and a hand-written list. Using a hand-written list, you can easily determine if something from a fresh email is already on your radar or not. If so, retain the newest email with the necessary information; but otherwise, don’t create a redundant to-do task. Seems obvious enough, but with a hundred emails a day plus, often with a “dialogue quality” that muddies things a bit, well, things get muddy pretty quick.
On the paper list, your tasks are easy enough to keep track of. You can update with new info from email, but not add redundant tasks and topics to your list of things to-do.
And so? So, you can stay focused on the things that need to get done. And for sure there are many things to get done. And with a Master List, you’ll get the job done.
Make your Master List today. I just did. And USE IT.
I think we humans crave stability as a result. Trying to create predictable, repeatable outcomes. But it doesn’t always go that way.
The numbers you thought were correct aren’t. People you work with get sick or otherwise are unavailable to help with an important project. There’s an unexpected downpour that hampers everything.
What can result? Anxiety, heightened heart rate, shallowed breath…maybe a little panic…maybe a lot…?
Here’s the double whammy in my little world recently:
our regular support person for distance learning was sick, so we had to scramble to support ourselves; while on the hook for work of our own;
and then on my work side, some reporting problems to deal with; and behind otherwise.
So what to do?
Often life doesn’t go as planned. And it’s in those moments where Calm, Patience, Focus and Perseverance are paramount.
When the expected happens, pause, take a few breaths, and get after it.
Addendum: The image included below was from my son’s learning screen, and a little song the teacher put up for the kids to have a little pause, a little break, with “The Penguin Song.” Kids need to pause too, sometimes.