There was a time when I was super organised. I scheduled meetings every 15 minutes, had a heavy teaching schedule and lots of administration work. I worked extremely hard, replied to every single email I received no matter who it was from and scheduled my day from 8:00am to 12:00pm rigidly. Even though every minute of the day was accounted for even during lunch and coffee breaks I was doing something such as correcting a research papers from a student or advising someone about their future career. Even though I felt extremely busy and got things done I did not feel satisfied or in control. No matter how hard or long I worked my to do list kept getting bigger and bigger. I was running as hard as I could on a treadmill and no matter how hard I tried the treadmill got faster and faster. I could never beat the treadmill. I kept this approach up since leaving university and felt it was essential for me to be productive and useful. It was part of my identity. My purpose was just getting things done. Even though I was successful I was not happy and fulfilled.
How to have success and fulfilment in your life easily?
You’ll find these 12 steps can change your life. They have been adapted to make my life work and you can adapt them to your particular situation.
The key is to simplify your life and avoid complicated and rigid schedules. Focus on people instead of just tasks.
1. Learn to say no and reduce the number of scheduled appointments. Schedule only meetings that are unavoidable and attended only meetings you have to attend. Stopped attending meetings just because your on the circulation list or just because people want to see you.
2.Only put things on your calendar that you must get done, meetings that arise, however you have a choice of things to do. Selected in terms of importance. Leave gaps in my calendar for things you enjoy doing such as going for a meeting with a colleague about research.
3. Focus on the task you are doing exclusively. Immerse your self in just one task at a time rather than multitasking. Do things that you are passionate about and keep to a minimum things that have to do to keep someone happy. Take control of your tasks and set them yourself rather than let other people dictate them. This will make you more effective and you’ll have more fun doing useful work. Choose tasks that were important and challenging.
4. Eliminated distractions. Shut the door. Switch off your phone and email. Clear your desk and only have stuff on it that you need to complete what you are doing. The rest of the world disappears. Get excited about the task and you’ll be in heaven in the process of doing what you love.
5. Look at your goals and to do list and chose the top 3 things you want to do. These will get you closer to your goals. Ranked them in order of importance. If you have a series of phone calls then batched them together and rattle them off quickly. Answered emails twice a day instead of throughout the day. This top 3 list should rule your day and you’ll find a way to focus. Start the day with the most important task and then moved to the second and third things on the list. Focused on a single task and try your best to get it completed. Focused intensely on finishing the task. Don’t jump from one task to another. This is hard because things keep coming to mind that seem more important, attractive and enjoyable. Once you have prioritised don’t change your mind in the middle of a task. Review your priorities after completion of what you are working on.
6. When you have many tasks then they are difficult to organise. Work on making your task list small. Have fewer items on the list and organising will be easier. Three tasks are easy to organised but 30 tasks are more difficult to deal with. Focus on reducing the number of tasks. Eliminate as many as you can, delegate those others can do, postpone ones that can be done later and don’t others you are committed to but aren’t important. Focus on the most important things to you and your organisation.
7. You have three most important tasks that you must do and then you will have a list of tasks that can be done quickly and easily. Don’t focus on these and neglect the most important ones. You can batch tasks together so that you reduce switch over time.
8. You can batch things like phone calls. Don’t make calls throughout the day. Have set times when you make calls. If you can also controls times you receive calls that will allow you more time to focus on the task at hand. You can route phone calls to your answer machine. This way you won’t be interrupted in the middle of the important work you are doing.
9. E-mail seems to be taking over people’s lives in offices now. You can batch your emails so you check them twice a day and answer the quick ones. You can answer them at 11:00am before lunch and 4:00pm just before going home. Don’t let emails prevent you from finishing the most important tasks.
10. Some meeting you can’t control, however those you can try to schedule them at the same time as batch just after one another. Set a specified time and agenda and don’t over run and always start on time. When you batch meeting together you will have bigger blocks of time to work on important things such as writing a paper.
11. Try to do research on website together as a block. If you have to research several topics on the web then do it together as batched tasks.
12. Your time management tools must also be simple. Use a calendar, Google Cal is good and it is very simple and available anywhere. Most systems have calendars with them and also space for taking notes. Have a simple note book to write things downs. You will have you top 3 tasks, batched tasks and your notes and information you need or will write down at meetings or from internet, papers and calls as you do your research. Index your note books so that you can find the information you want quickly.
Follow these steps and get a life full of success and fulfilment. Success and happiness do go together.