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7 Steps To Organize A Productive Week Easily

7 Steps To Organize A Productive Week Easily

A very busy week can be a stressful time in a person’s life. You may feel like you aren’t getting anything done, and the end of your to do list seems impossible. During these times, having a process to organize your life into a more productive week can be a life saver.

Here are seven steps to organize a productive week for yourself.

1. Know what tasks need to be completed

Having a to do list is very important, if you want a more productive week. If you don’t know what needs to be done, then it would be very hard to accomplish anything.

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Make sure you have a list of the tasks that need to be done in the next week. Also, note which tasks will take more time than others. You should make a schedule of how long each tasks will take. This will give you a more realistic time frame of what you need to do that week.

2. Make smaller goals if you need to

If you have more than one project that needs to be done, then you should break it into smaller goals. Each smaller goal can act as a mental note, allowing you to determine how far you have come and how much further you need to go to accomplish your tasks.

3. Actually get organized

If you don’t know where anything is, you are wasting time that you cannot afford to lose. Make sure that everything you need to accomplish your goals and to have a productive week is organized into the correct places.

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4. Automate or outsource when you can

Do you find yourself often wasting time on things that you shouldn’t spend any time on? Undoubtably, there are tasks that you can automate by downloading some software or a plugin.

Think about any tasks you currently spend time on that you could be outsourcing to others.

5. Accomplish tasks from biggest to smallest or smallest to biggest

There is a reasoning for why you would do either. Some choose to accomplish bigger tasks first because they can then clear the way, knowing that only easy tasks are left. Some prefer to get rid of the smaller tasks first because then they can focus more time on the harder items.

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Whatever method you choose to do, you should definitely complete the urgent tasks right away, just in case an issue arrises and you end up needing more time than you originally thought.

6. Know your progress

If you are working on a rather large project, track your progress and record what you have done. If you have to constantly go back and try to remember what you have done and what you have left out, then you may find yourself wasting many precious minutes.

7. Know when you work best

If you have different tasks that need to be completed throughout the day, you should try to work on different tasks at the time when you work best. For example, if you are a morning person, then you may want to do your sales part of your job in the morning when you know that you are more outgoing. However, if you know that you are not a pleasant person in the mornings, then you will probably want to wait to do any sales tasks until later on. If you know when you work best and actually work during those times, you will have a more organized and productive week.

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What steps do you take to organize a productive week?

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Last Updated on June 18, 2019

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Making Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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