In the middle of the Summer, when the weather is beautiful and the beach is beckoning, it can be hard to even drag yourself into the office - let alone to stay organized and productive while you're there. If you're finding yourself in a mid-Summer slump at work, check out the following tips for effectively organizing your workday.
- Plan Your Day on a Curve: View your workday as a bell curve: Start with easy, pleasant tasks as you're working on your first (or second) cup of coffee. Once you're warmed up, tackle the most difficult - or most loathed - tasks of the day. Then plan your most mindless tasks for your after-lunch slump, and finish the day off with something you actually enjoy doing.
- Reward Yourself: When you've got a particularly hectic schedule or are tackling an unpleasant project, give yourself small rewards as you accomplish tasks. When you finish putting together that PowerPoint, run out and grab a latte. After you've dealt with a difficult client, allow yourself a few minutes to chat with a co-worker about last night's episode of Lost.
- Prioritize Your To-Do List: When your task list gets unmanageable, it's time to choose your battles. You obviously can't accomplish everything at once, so decide what absolutely has to be done right away, and what can wait. Some people like to use symbols like stars to indicate high-priority items; some set a different deadline for finishing each task; and others use spreadsheets to separate urgent items and long-term projects.
- Plan Ahead: Save the last 15 or so minutes of each day to plan ahead for the next. Straighten up your desk, toss out any wrappers or coffee cups that have accumulated during the day, and take another pass through your to-do list to make sure you've crossed off everything you accomplished. Then start a fresh list for the following day so you can get off to a productive, organized start in the morning.
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