How to get organised.
5 tools for keeping on track with time management
So last week wasn’t an ideal week for me. It’s been a killer. I’ve had back-to-back meetings, meaning that I don’t sit down to actually work until 5pm; constant deadlines galore; and no downtime. Literally plugging away on my laptop at work, during lunchtime at the cafe and even at home on the couch in the evening. Not great for that work/life balance thing and I’m determined to find more time for breaks, lunchtime walks and my own headspace this week.
So this got me thinking about how I can be more organised and keep things on track too. There are a few tools that I’ve found useful over the years, and it's a reminder to keep coming back to these when you are busy, to make sure nothing has been forgotten.
For starters we keep all our jobs on Trello and check-in as a team twice a week on where all our projects are at. There are lots of other project management tools out there like Asana and Monday, but I’ve just found Trello to be super easy and it keeps things simple. Use a card for each project, a short description of what it is and a checklist of the key action points.
2. Calendar - iCal or Google Calendar
Your calendar is the best device to not only schedule your meetings but to schedule time in with your team or to book yourself in to work on specific tasks or projects. I like to use Google Calendar but iCal is great too for all the mac users out there. Make sure you are keeping space in your calendar for breaks, as breaks are actually going to keep you more efficient and stop you from going off on tangents.
3. Google Tasks
I’ve found Google Tasks works in really well for tasks that aren’t necessarily related to a specific job. Need to make that phone call to a client, need to speak to the team about that studio item, have an idea for something - it can all go down on tasks with a due date to remind you. Google tasks also hook in with your G suite (another tool, I highly recommend), so if you have google mail for your business, you can keep these open on your desktop email window. The same also goes for google calendar - you can keep this open on the side for reminders or adding to on the go.
By far the best thing I find for keeping me on track with my day is my trusty notebook. You can have all the digital tools in the world but there’s nothing quite like putting pen to paper, to organise your thoughts. My notebook is my daily to-do list, my meeting notes, my reminders and its always open next to me, so it can’t get hidden in the digital world in the depths of my computer.
Writing my to-list each morning is the best I’ve found for sorting out what I can achieve each day. If I don’t think it's going to fit in or get done that day, I write a tomorrow list at the bottom, ensuring it doesn’t get lost and I can refer back to it when writing the next day’s list.
So, yep, email can be fantastic and evil all at the same time! While a great communication tool, it can also come with constant interruptions to your flow. I have to admit, I keep my email open the whole time I’m working, as I’m keen not to miss that very important, urgent email from a client. But I’m rethinking this in order to keep my brain on track with actually completing tasks, and reducing the stop/start rhythm that I’ve got into the habit of when rushing around trying to do everything. This week I’m going to close down my email for an hour or two everyday, to see if I can complete some important and specific tasks without the interruptions.
Here’s to resetting the week ahead and introducing a smoother, more efficient and more productive rhythm, without the ‘working all hours’ approach.
Wish me luck!