There are three steps in the Productivity Process.
- 1. Organize
The process begins with organizing the work ahead of you. You need to understand what it is you need to accomplish to be able to allocate time and resources accordingly. As you organize your tasks, you want to keep the following in mind:
- What tasks need to be completed?
- How much time will you need for each task?
- What tools will you need to get everything done?
You can choose any method to write down and keep track of everything, but this is a technology course so we will focus on using digital methods. You could create a Word document, Google sheet or a note app. The key is that you write it all down. This helps you retain it better and it gives you a resource you can use as you work through the tasks and the rest of the Productivity Process.
For instance, let’s say that you are planning a trip. First, you’ll want to organize the tasks that need to be completed, such as purchasing airline tickets, creating a list of activities you’d like to do on vacation, setting a budget, and reserving a hotel room. Spending time organizing your trip will save you time in the long run and enable you to be more productive.
- 2. Plan
After you determine what you need to accomplish, you need to explore how you can achieve your results. There are two critical elements in this step:
- You need to prioritize your tasks. You can do this by examining things like due dates, complexity of the work and how critical their completion is to you or others.
- Select a calendar to help you manage your plan and determine or include due dates.
Later in this challenge we will explore calendar options so you can choose one that works best for you.
The most effective organizational tools are tools that you use frequently. For instance, you may set milestones and enter the dates into your digital calendar. Or, you may use a project management tool for all of your projects. There are several digital tools and apps designed to keep you organize, and ultimately, more productive.
To continue the example of planning a trip, you’ll look at the task list you created when you were on the organization step. Prioritize these steps based on urgency and importance. For instance, if you want to stay at a specific hotel, you’ll want to make that a high priority to ensure there is vacancy. You’ll then want to determine how and when you’ll complete the rest of the tasks, as well as what tools and resources will be needed.
- 3. Manage
Lastly, you need to be able to put your plan into action and manage it. In this phase you are both doing the work and adjusting as needed as circumstances change (and we know they do that sometimes!) It will be important that you take initiative and revise your plan as needed. Not doing so could lead to missed deadlines or critical errors. Some questions you can ask yourself as things come up are below:
- Does this event affect my priority list?
- Are my deadlines flexible?
- Who can help me?
Life happens, but when you have a solid plan in place, it can help you avoid stress and adjust more quickly.
To further expand on the example of planning a trip, unexpected events may occur. You have already organized and planned your tasks and resources and are ready to take the trip. However, your flight may be canceled or someone who is traveling with you may end up getting sick. In these cases, you’ll need to make adjustments as needed so that you can still execute your plan.