February 28, 2010
Your daily to-do list revisited
In yesterday's post, I talked about ways to wrangle your to-do list in today's overworked office environment. A couple more tips I couldn't resist mentioning:
Set strict boundaries around social media time. We're always hearing inbox experts expound on how checking e-mail just two, three, or four times day can do wonders for your productivity. The same can be said of social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. (Paging folks who keep TweetDeck open throughout the workday!)
"If you do a lot of social networking as part of your job, try designating specific amounts of time to specific networks," says workplace management expert Katherine Crowley, who is co-author of the bestseller "Working with You Is Killing Me."
For example, limit your use of LinkedIn to 20, 30, or 60 minutes a day. And if you must take a hit off Facebook during the workday, restrict it to 5- or 10-minute increments. "Anything you can do to create your own sanctuary to protect your time can help," Crowley says.
Learn to love automation. If you haven't done so already, stop covering your desk with Post-it notes and jotting down action items in a menagerie of notepads. Andrea Ballard, director of human resources at Seattle accounting firm Peterson Sullivan LLP, recently gained both time and sanity by nixing all the scraps of paper on her desk. Instead she lists her daily to-do's on her computer's calendar program.
"It took me a few weeks to train myself to check my tasks every day when I came in, rather than focusing on whatever Post-it caught my eye first," Ballard says. But now she's more organized, better able to meet deadlines, and equipped with a digital record that shows her when a task was completed. Best of all, Ballard says, automating her to-do list has eliminated those "middle of the night 'What did I forget?' moments."
Readers, how about you? What tricks do you use to make sure you stay focused on the most important tasks on your plate throughout the workweek?
Karen Burns is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl, a career guide based on her 59 jobs over 40 years in 22 cities.
Kristen Fife is a senior recruiter, career mentor, blogger and resume consultant based in the Seattle area.
Lisa Quast is a certified career coach, mentor, business consultant, former corporate executive and author based in the Seattle area.
Randy Woods writes about job-search tools, networking techniques and other tips to help you land your dream job.
Matt Youngquist is the president of Career Horizons, a career counseling firm.
Natalie Singer is a Seattle writer, editor and small-business owner.
Michelle Goodman is the author of "My So-Called Freelance Life" and "The Anti 9-to-5 Guide."
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