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I have felt overwhelmed at times and constantly struggle to ‘find’ time to do everything that I want to do. Many times I am successful at completing my obligations, and others I am not. Just like Vivien who is hosting a Group Writing Project at Inspiration Bit, I have often wondered why we couldn’t have more hours in the day, to finish everything we wanted to?
But I am always experimenting different ways to come up with better means to organize my days and tasks. Even though I try my best, I know a lot of the time gets wasted with unimportant stuff that could be avoided. The chunk of my time (8 hours plus the commute time) gets spent at work and I am left with doing more in less time.
My favorite method to keep track of different tasks has always been ‘To Do’ lists. I used to make them in a simple note pad, then I moved to word and even wrote them in excel! The problem with making these types of lists was that they are on one of the computers, either at home or at work! There was no synchronization. So I would print them out and carry them with me at all times. But the printed copy of the to do list often got lost amongst other papers in the pocket books and that didn’t help a whole lot.
Then, about a year or so ago, I came across a service called Backpack by 37Signals, that lets you organize your stuff online. Backpack allows you to not only create shareable to-do lists, but also has content creation facility, calendars, lets you add pages that can also be shared with other people, have the reminders set up and even emailed or SMS to your mobile phone. I have been using the service for just about everything I need to remember and its been a life saver so far because I can access the organizer anywhere with a net connection. The basic service is free.
Another very useful application I have used to keep notes and reminders is Stickies for windows. These are small yellow sticky notes that can be put on the desktop. Stickies also supports multi-computer synchronization and I have been loving the application.
My organization, as far as keeping track of various aspects of all of my projects or tasks is concerned, has improved greatly with the use of these two applications. Here are some additional tips that have also been working for me in order to stay organized and focused:
- Starting my day about 20 minutes earlier than usual to get a head start, even if it is checking my email or reading the news headlines on the pc
- Doing the most important thing/task in the morning hours while the mind is still fresh
- Processing similar tasks all at once – reading feeds twice a day, commenting on other blogs all at once,
- Stick the printed to-do-list to the refrigerator so I can review it every morning
- Watch less television
- I review the priorities every few days and re-arrange them if need be
- My most important tip has been writing and re-writing goals after breaking the bigger long term goals into smaller goals, and then focusing on just the short term goals.
- As crazy as it may sound, I have been monitoring the time spent on various activities which I review periodically to see which activity I spend my most time on, could avoid or do differently
How do you manage to keep a balance while multi-tasking?
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