I’ve been practicing this method for quite a few years and it has been effective to me. I would say that I’m not just ‘busy’ but I am productive. In this article, I am sharing how to get things done on time whilst you’re running a company and looking after a family. The number of activities depend of course on your work, priorities and schedule. And no over intake of caffeine won’t make you a superwoman. I believe it is all about making your priorities in order and creating the right system.
Disclaimer: this ‘system’ works for me but it may not work for everyone. It is still important that you understand your values and priorities. This is regardless of your industry and whether or not you’re working or a stay-at-home mum. We all have different agendas and activities. 😉
- Be organized:
To be organized you must start with your to-do list. It can be a daily task, weekly targets and monthly goals. In short, write down everything you would like to accomplish for short or long-term tasks. Include the Area of work (i.e. Email, Meeting, Family), followed by Specific Tasks which mean what exactly you need to do. Is it to answer an email, attend an important meeting, cook for your family or update social media, whatever it is write down the specific tasks that you need to get things done.
Once you’re done include the Priority. You can put high, medium and low depends on which one is more important to pay attention. Then write the time if you have any specific time to achieve it and total number of hours and finally, the status of your tasks.
Why total hours are important in the task list? It is important so you can estimate the spending hour on a specific task. For example, if you spend so much time on Facebook you will not be productive because you will be distracted from a number of updates on your newsfeed. Unless, your job is to update Facebook for marketing. But if you spend time on Facebook for simple marketing or just to check your friends what’s up, I think the 20 mins time is more than enough. 😉
Why status and date are important in the task list? It is important so you can write if you have accomplished it. Include the date so you can track the progress. Below is an example of my tasks list I created on excel.
I have different types of tasks;
- Weekly Tasks: each sheet on excel covers of my daily tasks from Mon-Sun.
- “CEO Tasks”: it covers all my responsibilities, errands and meetings in start-up.
- Goals: it covers my short-term and long-term goals. I include my MBA studies in which I track my progress from my attendance, recitation, homework to exams. I also include a note of why I am I absent in particular date. I review my performance so if I fail in the report card at least I will understand how I can I improve my work on next module OR if I believe I did well but my professor did not mark my grade appropriately, I can appeal and use my tasks materials as evidence.
People may react on my tasks that it’s only “10.9 hours” and they can multitask better than me. Well, that’s good to know! 🙂 However, I follow the 80/20 rule. It means only 20% of what you do each day that really produces 80% of your results. Therefore, I try to eliminate the unnecessary activities, meetings that can be done online, and I do not organize multiple meetups in a day because I always believe in quality over quantity. Thus, when you break your next task list into systematic method you will end up with the 20% that gets the 80% of results. 😉
- Create goals.
Understand what are your immediate needs to long-term goals and create the plan on how to achieve it. For example, in the past I did the following;
- Long-term goals: to monetize my blog.
- Short-term goals: to receive brand sponsorship.
- Monthly tasks: to use it as a platform for my brand’s marketing.
- Weekly tasks: to blog quality content + email marketing to subscribers.
There are different types of goals it could be your desire to blog professionally, to be promoted at work, to increase the sales in your start-up, to lose weight, to have a love life or to manage the responsibilities for family. Whatever your goals are it is important to plan and work on each task to achieve it.
Don’t beat yourself if you didn’t accomplish any of your plans on time. You can learn in the process and improve your work.
- Disconnect yourself from disruptions.
Temptations can stop you from achieving your goals. For example, if you wish to do well in school but your friends ask you to join them in the club it is hard to say no. You want to chill but also you want to pass the exams #TheStruggleIsReal huh? 🙂 The best thing to do is to focus on your priority (education) and work on your assessment and exams. The clubs will not be closed just because you’re busy. There will always be new parties and occasions you can join next time.
Do not involve yourself too much in other people’s problem unless you are obligated to solve it. For example, if you’re on the process of building your company but if you have a troublesome friend, you may need to check why he is always in trouble. If it is money issues, offer help only if you can afford or if you trust that person. If it is relationship problem, offer a coffee date to listen but do not over do it to the point that you will sabotage your own schedule.
Avoid gossips and social drama. Gossips are completely a waste of time! For example, at grad school I am friendly to everyone but I don’t pay attention to my peer’s personal issues or who cannot get along to particular group of people. I believe that we’re all professional adults and 10% of the class are married with children hence there are more important things to do. Therefore, after class I leave the room and I rush to the MRT so I can be home within an hour. I’ve rather use my late evening energy for my son than to deal with unnecessary issues.
- Stay focused.
We live in a modern world where there are endless opportunities to be distracted; from chatting with our mates on WhatsApp, checking our friends’ updates on Facebook to checking promotional items on Sephora website. I believe that if you want to achieve your goals you must stay focused.
- I usually deactivate my Facebook before and during exams. The brand’s social media marketing is done by our team but I don’t read any personal updates.
- I make a vacation email auto-response. So, if I won’t answer immediately people at work won’t assume that I’m missing! 🙂
- I turn off phone notifications from any of apps I’ve downloaded.
- I inform my family and close friends that I will be away for while before and during exams, and when I am in the process of building a start-up.
- I meditate and exercise when I am under pressure (this helps a lot to unblock the energy channel in my body).
- I tackle the challenging tasks before I eat lunch (I prefer to address the bigger issues to solve before meal time).
- I create system that is effective for me to accomplish my goals.
- I don’t argue unnecessarily to any issues. I learned to choose my fight and the right competition for my level. I save my energy for important matters.
I am not saying that I’m “perfect” or I have an ideal life but if you’re a 34 years old grown up professional, with a child to take care of and relationship to maintain I believe it is important to create a tasks list to be productive so you can beat the pressure. What are my favourites? I love the weekend because it means not to check my emails too much. It also means I can play around in my home studio to take photography.
Here are my fun moments during and after my tasks.
I usually work out in the morning because I have more energy in the morning than at night.
The perks of being an MBA student is to have the evening and weekend classes. My not so favourite is to work in a group because I have no patience to drag a project decision. I can be pushy and competitive to get things done on time. If you’re on my team, my goal is to win and I believe if one has this type of working attitude she will be perceived as “bossy”. LOL. I have no intention to boss people but I’m just a task-and-results oriented type of person. For example, in my group last year we discussed to work on project together and we planned to submit the requirements before the deadline. And because all of us are working professionals it was challenging to submit the project on time. #StruggleIsReal As results, the members did not submit the requirements by 9pm. Some submitted at 12 am and 3 am. When I received the documents, I wasn’t happy but instead to whine about it I took over and did the work. The group was not satisfied because they believe it “could have been better”. That’s when I started an argument, that if they all submit the requirements on time and if they work with quality I will not waste 4-8 hours editing each of their work. As an MBA student, it is understood that students have advance knowledge and experience when it comes to research work. The copy and paste diagrams and information are not acceptable.
Fast forward, after working with different groups for the last 12 months, I learned to slow down and I learned to cooperate. I allowed myself to learn that every group work is a different challenge. At the end of the day, it is just an MBA group project and we are all learning together. It is part of the MBA package.
My recent favourite group mate is Cipi because her extrovert personality it is easier for me to communicate in project. She doesn’t keep it to herself. Also, she is helpful in our group and her working attitude is the kind of mate you can work with easily.
Coffee definitely helps to keep me awake at night. I’m not a big fan of Starbucks but I find the caffeine at Starbucks is less than the local kopi. I can still sleep at night even if I have a cup of Starbucks latte at 9pm.
And because I’m already exhausted at night, I can’t read the entire case study so I usually continue my reading on the train in the morning. I learned from my dad who is a university professor, “it is not about how smart you are, it is about preparation. When you are prepared you can have quality of answers during recitations and exams.
This is one of the reasons why I love studying an MBA – you will master the game of business.
On my day off, I don’t mind to have affordable facial care to get rid of unwanted blackheads. I believe that no matter how busy you are, it is important to take care of your skin.
My family is important to me. I try to make good meals for dinner and I also add fun in the kitchen by using lab stuff to check the temperature of the food if it’s cook well. LOL
What I love about my day off is to treat myself for a casual set lunch. I usually eat affordable Asian food and I don’t invite people so I can enjoy my ‘me time’. 🙂 I believe that if you allow yourself to enjoy the simple things in life, you will be able to manage your stress.
I make time for a date. What’s my favourite? Free meals and free movie ticket. he he #NotReallyKidding 🙂
Thank you for reading and I am wishing you all the best to be productive in your work, mama’s tasks’ list, start-up agenda or anything you’d like to accomplish. If you’d like to be updated on my blog, please subscribe and I will send you a direct email. 🙂 Stay positive and stay focused! xo
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