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What Does Your Task List Say About You

What Does Your Task List Say About You

Hello there! I am your task list. I am one of the biggest contributors to your overall productivity, and I have something to tell you. Now hear my voice!

1. But I don’t have a task list!

Do you actually like being reactive and constantly in fire-fighter mode? Not having a task list probably causes you to have problems seeing the big picture and setting priorities in your life. When was the last time when you felt truly proud of your accomplishments?

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2. But I have problems accessing it!

Think about any moment of the day. Home. Work. Shopping. How long does it take you to access your task list? Does it take five seconds, or maybe a minute or two? “I need to go upstairs, open my laptop, log in, open a browser, log into this great portal and then I have it”. Face it, you are rarely using it, and you don’t really believe it is helping you. It helps you to avoid forgetting things, but it has never actually made you productive.

3. But there isn’t any fun!

Scan through your list of tasks. Be honest: are you experiencing any positive emotions? Do you feel any excitement about any of these? If not, let’s face it–you are just living a boring life. Your face is probably sad for most of the day, and you probably read a lot about this “procrastination” stuff. Think of ways you could add some fun to your tasks, and you will immediately notice the difference!

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4. But I do not know what to do!

Look at every task on your list. If you were supposed to complete any of these tasks right now, would you know exactly what to do? If not, it means you are too quick. You can catch a glimpse of an idea, but you never get down to structure, and thus, the tasks lack clarity and precision. They are just floating on the surface. If you just slowed down a little bit and worked on details, your tasks would call for an action. Otherwise, your list just becomes a home for old tasks.

5. But there are so many old tasks!

Now think about the moment when you added each of the tasks to the list. What is the average age of each task? If it is weeks or months rather than days, you are probably a great planner, but you’re not being realistic. Your favorite word may be “tomorrow” or “later”. The thing you desperately need is to be clear and precise, to add more fun or to simply SIT DOWN AND DO IT RIGHT NOW!

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6. But I don’t know what is most important!

Open your task list and explain to others what the difference between “urgent” and “important” is? If you can’t, you probably have never sat down and established priorities in your life and in your work. When picking the next task to execute, you simply take the most urgent first. The truth is, without priorities you can be good, but you will never be great.

7. But I don’t have any “Done” category!

When you finish your task, it immediately disappears from the list. You probably like to run fast, but you do not stop or slow down to do any kind of retrospection on the last week, month or year. Are you sometimes doing the same mistakes over and over again? What if you spent just five minutes going over the list of tasks you accomplished last week and delete them just after? This is a great way to be proud of yourself and actually learn something.

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8. But I do not track delegated tasks!

Do you simply delete tasks that were delegated to others? Then you are probably a “not my problem” type of person and people rarely trust your accountability. Or maybe you keep track of the tasks forever and ask about updates every day. Now you know why people are so annoyed with you. Ideally, you should keep track of the delegated tasks and react only when necessary.

Now spend one more minute looking at your task list, is there anything more that it is trying to tell you?

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Piotr Nabielec

Author, CEO, Consultant

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

11 Organizational Skills That Every Smart Leader Needs

Failing to organize will often lead to chaos or, at the very least, an increase in stress levels. This occurs as you attempt to make sense of everything that surrounds you for the sake of making life easier. That’s why strong organizational skills are key to being a smart leader.

The need to have organizational abilities becomes even more important when you are a boss or manager. After all, people turn to you for inspiration, and it will hardly be inspiring if they see you freaking out.

What are organizational skills and how can you develop them? We’ll guide you through 11 key organizational skills that every leader needs to know. By the end, it will mean that you are in a better position to be a more effective leader.

1. Time Management

Poor time-management is at the root of so many issues within a company. As the leader, it’s your responsibility to ensure that things run like clockwork. This is only possible by having a firm understanding of what it is to be organized.

Failure in this area will lead to you being unable to stay on the task in front of you. Suddenly, your ability to juggle everything at once diminishes before you. It won’t take much before it all comes crashing down, resulting in you being viewed as rather unreliable.

Quick Tips for Time Management

    Be aware of the following: the tasks for completion, their deadlines, the amount of work required, and anything that cannot be delayed or avoided at any cost[1].

    Also, take a look at these 7 Effective Time Management Tips To Maximize Your Productivity.

    2. Planning

    Planning makes organizing easier, but we are often lacking when it comes to being able to plan ahead. Again, poor planning leads to disorganization and more pressure on you.

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    Remember that planning takes different forms, including dealing with time and how a project must proceed. However, a smart leader has to take things one step further to make a difference. You must also be aware of the plans of others and how they fit into your own approach if they are to make a difference.

    This becomes more important when dealing with a multi-disciplinary team where coordination can be problematic without adequate planning. A complete absence of planning will only ever lead to problems.

    3. Scheduling

    Even though this skill does overlap with those mentioned earlier, it’s still important enough to merit its own individual point. Having a schedule and keeping to it is known to be an effective tool for organizing your life.

    Scheduling indicates to others that you have an awareness about what they are doing. It also shows you have a firm grip on what is being done and that there are no issues with balancing a number of projects.

    Thanks to scheduling, your understanding of the time taken for different aspects becomes improved. This helps you to keep control of a project, as well as coping with problems thanks to an understanding of events.

    Scheduling time blocks is also a great technique to help you get organized: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

    4. Resource Allocation

    It’s important to get the most out of your resources, and this too requires organization. Even knowing when to use those resources is important to prevent them becoming exhausted or used at incorrect times.

    Organizational skills, in this sense, means being acutely aware of the resources at hand and those you may call upon with a project. Your strength should also be in linking the correct resource to the right requirement to ensure it fits into their own abilities. Failure to do this means wasted resources, and this will not reflect well on you.

    To be certain of organization in this sense, you must first identify resources that may be relevant before beginning a new project. This prevents you from scrambling around and searching for help when you need it the most.

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    5. Delegation

    Delegation is an art form and one of the most important organizational skills, and not everyone has mastered it. An effective leader also understands its importance for a project to run smoothly.

    It’s impossible to handle each aspect of a project yourself, and that is where delegating tasks to team members can help. Being aware of who is best for a particular task prevents feelings of overwhelm, which will free you to oversee each aspect of the project.

    An organized leader will know their team and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses.[2] Being aware in advance means you will not stress when a problem arises, as you know who to call for help.

    Thanks to organization, your team will work more efficiently and complete each task with less stress on your shoulders.

    Take a look at this guide and learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

    6. Prioritizing

    Being capable of prioritizing tasks will make your life easier. Creating a to-do list and understanding which deadlines come first leads to better planning as well as less stress. As your experience builds, you become more confident at knowing which tasks are the most important.

    Disorganized individuals tend to cope in a haphazard way and deal with things as they arise. This leads to putting energy into the wrong areas, and the most important things fall by the wayside. Prioritization keeps you on track with the order in which you need to complete things.

    For this, you must be aware of the tasks at hand and the process for each one. Check deadlines and other pressing details in advance to allow you to be better organized.

    7. Collaboration

    Collaboration is one of the organizational skills that makes life easier all around. The only problem is that it does require organization on your part. An organized leader is aware of those individuals that may be the best person for a particular task. Not organizing leaves you in a position of searching for help when it should be plain sailing.

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    This is about more than mere delegation. Instead, the skill is with knowing in advance who you can call upon to make a project run as smooth as possible. This may also involve other leaders of various departments, so working in unison is key.

    With this skill, you must become aware of who you may need to collaborate with before the need arises. Do your research and know who to call upon at any point. This allows you to then cope with any problem in a cool and efficient manner.

    8. Setting Goals

    An organized individual will find it easier to set and achieve goals. A smart leader is able to show others that they can set short and long-term goals, work towards them, and ultimately achieve them. The only way this is done is through solid organizational skills.

    It will be impossible to reach a target if you are unaware of the path to follow. You must understand the actions and objectives, or you will never achieve anything. Organization skills also help you identify each step and any problems connected to it.

    Here, you must identify the target or goal at the earliest opportunity and then bring forward the other organizational skills that I have mentioned.

    9. Maintaining Efficiency

    Organization and efficiency go hand in hand. Efficiency leads to the need for planning as the smoother something runs, the fewer problems you encounter.

    Being efficient also allows you to know where you are in a project at any moment. This is due to you having organized things to such an extent that you are able to counteract problems before they occur. Remember that efficiency and your ability to identify issues work in unison. If you fail to be organized, then it is impossible for this to happen.

    To learn this skill, you must set aside time for each project and break it down into individual segments. Understand how each step must progress and who will be responsible for each part. Identify problems and how to resolve them to allow in such a way that everything can run like clockwork.

    Efficiency is a skill that develops over time, so continue working on it and how to improve problem areas to become a stronger leader.

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    10. Clear Communication

    A strong leader needs to be able to communicate clearly at all times.[3] With your organizational skills, you will find that this is easier to do.

    Thanks to these skills, you always know what is happening and can clarify any issues. You are also able to communicate exactly what you need simply because you are organized and know the status quo at that point. You will find it easier to get things started due to your ability to get things across clearly and concisely[4].

    Organizational skills: How to improve communication

      To have good communication, you have to be confident in your own abilities as a leader. If you use the different skills discussed above, you will notice a greater confidence in your voice, which then has a positive influence on the rest of the team.

      If you want to be more confident in your communication skills, check out this article: How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

      11. Self-Care

      Nothing mentioned above is possible if you are not organized in your own life, both professionally and personally. The ability to look after yourself is the glue that holds everything else together.

      You need to eat and sleep well, along with taking care of your general health. Organization in each aspect of your life is essential to ensure you have a healthy balance. Feeling under the weather, tired, stressed or anything else negative will have a profound impact on your abilities as a leader.

      Look at what people expect of you in each part of your life, and adopt the same strategies for each aspect. You can then expect a certain synergy to occur between the different areas, allowing them to work with a certain fluidity.

      This simple guide will be helpful for you to take better care of yourself: 13 Essential Self-Care Tips for Busy People

      The Bottom Line

      These 11 organizational skills are essential for any smart leader who wishes to be more organized in everything they do. By bettering yourself along these lines, it will lead to not only a greater sense of confidence in yourself, but also towards those that look to you for both guidance and inspiration.

      More Skills to Increase Productivity

      Featured photo credit: Emma Matthews via unsplash.com

      Reference

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