There are many people who believe that using a personal management system makes their lives easier. People who are consistently using these types of systems will often say that they accomplish three times as much stuff simply by structuring their days with it. That’s no way to be productive, especially if your clients are paying you to be.
These systems might not be for everyone, and a lot of people might simply find them more of a hassle than they’re worth. However, the possible benefits of using a personal management system make it worthwhile to study it a little closer.
Here are six questions you should be asking yourself if you’re considering a personal management system.
1. Do you know what you have to do every day, or do you spend a lot time trying to remember?
With a personal management system, you don’t have to spend time working out what’s going on in your day, it’s all written down for you already. There’s less of a chance that you’ll forget to do something and you can immediately sit down and get to work every morning.
There’s the possibility in every morning for time waste. You get to the office, you say hi to people on the way through, you stop for a cup of coffee, maybe a snack. Maybe you have a quick word with your team who have several things to fill you in on. You have messages on your phone, you have emails in your inbox, and you might even have a meeting in ten minutes. What was it you had to do today?
With everything already in a personal management system, you know exactly what has to happen and when, from the moment that you walk through the door. Your whole day is before you, clearly noted.
2. Do you always know what projects you have going and which ones are your priority on a given day?
Knowing what projects you have going on during the week is important, but knowing which ones need to be worked on first can make or break your week. With a system in place, you can spend Sunday evening going over your next week and even organize your days based on your priorities.
Juggling several projects is never easy, especially if they all have deadlines and you suddenly get offered another one. Do you know what your workload is and how much room you have for other projects? Saying “yes” when you should have said “no” can be bad .. very bad.
3. Have you ever worked on a task only to find out that it was at the bottom of your priority list?
Many tasks are urgent, but not all urgent tasks are important. Using a personal management system can help you to identify the tasks that actually need to be done, and aren’t just the ones that feel the most urgent.
It’s easy to let yourself get pushed into doing things because other people are wound up about them and tell you that they’re urgent. Knowing where your priorities are means that you can make your own choices about what’s important.
4. Have you ever let someone down because you simply forgot to do something for them?
It’s easier to remember things if they directly affect us, but what about all the promises that we make to the people in our lives? Trust is easily lost when you let someone else down, and it’s the type of commitment that we’re likely to make all the time.
Personal management systems allow you to enter in any and every task that needs to get done, and it won’t get forgotten. Once it’s in there, it will pop up and keep you from embarrassment.
5. How often are you aware of how over-committed you are, and how often can you let others know in advance?
We all get bogged down by work, and this can sometimes cause other people to get behind. With all of your week in front of you, you can easily give people notice that you’re behind and to expect a delay from you. This is a benefit to both clients and co-workers, and it will be much appreciated when you advise them of these delays.
6. When you realize that you have to abandon a task, how easy is it to choose which one?
We all know the feeling of simply having too much to get done. When it’s time to let something go from our schedule, having a management system in place means we can look at everything in context and find the task easiest to remove.
It’s easy to track your lack of progress over time, and if you see a task getting pushed back week after week, it might be time to remove it all together — how important can it be anyway?
Just like all organizing & productivity systems, your personal management system has to be all you. What Joe does, may not work for Jane and certainly isn’t going to work for Jeff. So make it your own.
Removing unnecessary tasks from your life will give you the time to do more enjoyable or important things. If you find new ways to manage your time and energy then everyone around you will benefit from it as well. If you don’t have a system in place and these questions strike a chord within you, find one now. The benefits will be worthwhile.
About Out of the Office Virtual Assistance:
Since 2006, Out of the Office has offered ideas and ways to increase your productivity, decrease your workload, and work more efficiently. We nurture a successful business relationship, while continuing to grow as your business partner. We are focused on streamlining your administration, social media planning and execution, content writing and offering creative solutions for your business success.
Image credit: geralt | CC0 Public Domain