Here’s what we’ve learned at Mozio to keep your head above water and the ball rolling week in and week out.
1. Ask your superior for explicit instructions.
If you’re getting your assignments from someone higher up on the corporate ladder, it’s a good idea when possible to ask them for clear metrics they’d like you to hit, or what they expect you to turn in. This doesn’t mean they have to set you out a step-by-step (you lazies), but try to get as close of an idea as possible of where you should be come next Monday.
2. Block time off in your schedule for different tasks.
Some people prefer the efficiency of having a sync-all calendar on all their devices (like Gmail or Outlook), some people are more pen & paper when it comes to organizing their heads. Choose whatever works best for you, grab a cup of coffee on Monday and try to diagram how your hours should work to easily arrive on Friday with a week’s worth of completed tasks.
Disclaimer: Don’t expect to get it right on the first try. This exercise is an approximation, and of course, things will pop up unexpectedly. You will probably find out that the email you ambitiously wanted to write in 5 minutes takes a little longer to pump out, or that the 25 minute phone call dragged on for 40. Next week you will have a clearer understanding of how much time it takes for you to go through your to-do list. Which brings us to…
3. Don’t beat yourself up when something you attempted doesn’t work out.
This is the reason why gyms everywhere thrive on members that buy their (*super cheap) year-membership and end up going twice before dropping out. All great habits are formed over time. Odds are you’ll forget to write down an important task one week, or change from the email calendar to your trusty paper schedule the next. This doesn’t mean failure; the idea is to not react to what the day throws at you, but to have a clear vision of how much time you’ll need to accomplish all your goals and fit in the rest as well you can.
4. Tackle your hardest or longest task on Monday or Tuesday.
I know, I know. This will likely be the hardest part (I feel your pain, fellow procrastinators) but prepare to be surprised when Friday rolls around and you’re feeling awesome about yourself 'cause you’re all done for the week. Nothing feels better than getting out of the office early for a much-deserved brew with a clean slate (believe us). Take however long you need, but start your week with what will likely be your dreariest to-do item and cross that sucker out on Tuesday. And don't forget to hit us up on Friday for that beer.
5. Speak up about the challenges and unforeseen difficulties.
It’s always hard to acknowledge defeat or to admit you’re not being as productive as you’d like to be. If the reason you’re slowing down is because your second tab is always Twitter or Facebook (and you’re not your company’s community manager), then you might want to cut your online mingling hours to a minimum.
Otherwise, if you can’t figure out why you’re not moving as fast as you’d like, don’t be intimidated and try to talk to your superiors about it – they can either suggest a good way of speeding up tedious tasks, or even realign the week's goals (hopefully you have a great relationship with your bosses to do so, or at least an honest one to be able to talk about the job’s challenges)