Whether we like it or not, we always have this one day in our lives when we have to deal with our due dates. May it be the utility bills, work tasks or our kids’ school projects (which we parents actually do), we got to deal with them.
Daily home tasks are never ending, so as the work tasks. Stressful as it may sound, but I believe this a good problem. When you have deadlines looming and clients’ requests piling up, it seems like trying to stay on top of them is nearly impossible. In my case, since I work from home, my desktop starts to clutter with unwanted files. The more I get loaded with different tasks assigned to me, the more stressful it gets. Of course, I don’t want to stay in chaos so I searched for online tools that would help me stay organized and be on schedule. If you have worked in both worlds, traditional office set-up and home-based, you know very well the difference between working in an office with numbers of drawers and box files and working with your computer alone. Okay, let’s go over them one by one…
7 Sticky Notes. I super love this tool! I take my notes down individually on these, pinned directly on my desktop. That way, I get an access to them easily without having to click on Drives C & D whenever. Even the logins and passwords that I have are saved here, and of course backed up on a separate file.
That’s how my desktop looks like – DAILY. Unless I get loaded with email campaigns, you will see unwanted image files on my desktop, filed by folder per client and campaign. Otherwise, it looks like that – ALMOST EMPTY with only a photo of cacti to please my eyes. If you double click on those yellow notes, they will roll down and show you whatever you have posted there. You can even change themes if you want to file them by colors. Alarms can also be set if you choose to take note of your meetings and deadlines.
Bookmarks on Browser. I make use of the Bookmark feature on browsers. This have been very useful to me. It helps me a lot and saves me time. If I have to bookmark everything, I would – again for easy access.
TO-DO-LIST. Despite the Project Management Tools that we already have and use at work, I still keep a separate list for myself where I document my tasks with action items and results, all linked accordingly. It works well for me and I use this sheet each time I do a catch up with the assigned Account Manager to me. Again, it’s bookmarked on my browser.
Identify priorities in your inbox. E-mails notifications are important to us. Whatever we have in the Project Management Tools (Active Collab and Redbooth) are linked to our work e-mails and we get notified. So there’s no excuse to miss an important task. In that case, there’s still some days when you really forget things or when things get mixed up, you can’t just keep up with the e-mail trails. What I do is I make use of the STARS and mark them red and yellow. Red means it still needs my attention and in my priority while the yellow indicates (for me) that I have already read it but still needs my action.
Make a pattern of your workflow. Our brains are a sucker of routine. Somehow, somewhere, the pattern is there no matter how much it gets messed up and mixed up. First things first. As soon as I am logged in, I check my e-mails first and do the markings in the first 10-15 minutes. Then, I do my usual routine which includes the first hour task that we are assigned to do at work. There’s this one task assigned to us that needs to be done within the given time frame without fail – DAILY. When I am finally done with that, that’s the time I go over the rest. With Active Collab, you won’t miss a thing, due dates are clearly indicated and they turn red when it’s due. The same goes with Redbooth.
I have not been using the Google Calendar since I learned about the 7 Sticky Notes. But I use Google Drive a lot. I make sure that the important files are backed up in there just in case of sudden computer crashes/corrupt.
Don’t let things pile up overhead. Know your task priorities. Pay attention to them. Due dates may cause stress and panic attacks at some point, but these actually help you identify what’s on your priority list. Whenever I get spare time, I don’t wait for the due date, I do them right away so I am safe in case some things come in between.
Keep your desk/workspace tidy AT ALL TIMES. This works for me. Eventhough online job does not require me from keeping a tidy desk, I still do it. When I get slammed with deadlines, looking at a tidy workspace/desk releases my tension. Check out my post here about “The importance of a pleasant workspace at home“.
Chase whoever/whatever. This is one thing I’ve learned over the years – CHASE. If you need to follow-up on one thing – CHASE. Otherwise, you will never get your things done.
Declutter. Whenever I feel it gets extra messy both on my desktop and workspace, I declutter. At the end of each day, the trash bin on my desktop must be emptied. I also delete the unwanted files every month. I even keep a folder on SCRAP file name so I know where to drag all the files that fall into this type within that month.
That’s pretty much about it! This is how I survive staying organized and on schedule at work from Monday to Friday. Once you get the hang of it, everything comes naturally that you won’t need to follow a guideline of your own workflow. Hope this helps!