7 Steps to Smash Those ‘Little Jobs’ on Your To-Do List
Do you have lots of important ‘little jobs’ on your to-do list which need to be done, but always seem to be put off until tomorrow because other priorities and tasks keep taking precedence?
Me too, and I was tired of simply moving them on to yet another list. I was also frustrated with sometimes getting to the end of the day and feeling like I’d achieved nothing because it had been one of ‘those’ days. Does this sound all a little bit too familiar to you?
Then I had the idea:
What if I allocated the first 30 minutes of my day not to checking emails, but to all those ‘little jobs’ which didn’t require a lot of mental energy and would definitely take 5 minutes or less to complete?
So what do I mean by a ‘little job’?
‘Little jobs’ to me are things like ’email such and such to order…’, ‘phone someone about…’, ‘download photos from phone’ and ’email to…’, etc. ‘Little jobs’ though sometimes annoying, absolutely need to be done, For a task to fit into the ‘little jobs’ category, ensure they absolutely do actually need to be done and that they can realistically be completed in 5 minutes or less.
Let me share with you my 30-minute a day strategy which helps get those ‘little jobs’ off the to-do list once and for all.
My simple 7 step, 5-minute Post-it Note system:
Step 1: Every day, block out the first 30 minutes in your diary for 5-minute jobs.
This becomes a not negotiable meeting and thus a habit which you create and isn’t moved. In the rare instance, this doesn’t happen; you must commit to completing these jobs before you leave the office, so they aren’t moved to tomorrow’s list. Otherwise, you’re back to square one.
Step 2: Post-it Notes.
Using either paper Post-it Notes (which I do as I’m a pen and paper girl) or the app, jot down every task you know will take 5 minutes or less to complete. Use one Post-it Note for each task.
Step 3: Visual collation.
As I’m a visual person and work from home, I place all these Post-it Notes on one piece of butchers paper labelled 5-minute jobs. I can then see every 5-minute job I have to do in the one place.
Step 4: Prioritise.
I then re-order the Post-it Notes based on due date and priority, so they move from random chaos to a simple system.
Step 5: Prep for tomorrow today.
Every day before I leave the office, I review my Post-it Notes and grab the seven (7) I will complete the next day. These go on my wall next to the computer, so I’m ready to go first thing the next morning.
Step 6: Timer.
The next day, the first thing I do once the computer has booted up, are my 5-minute Post-it Notes. To ensure I’m not distracted by other shiny objects, e.g. reading emails or answering the phone, I set a timer which pushes me to complete these 7 tasks.
Step 7: Crumple or delete.
Once each task is completed, I love to crumple up the post-it note, throw it in the bin with great satisfaction and a smile on my face and a nod of my head as I utter the words “Job done” in the style of comedian Jimeoin.
I’m sure you’re reading this and saying, “Tamara, your math isn’t very good because 6 x 5-minute jobs equals 30 minutes, not 7 x 5.” The reason I choose 7 Post-it Notes is because I push myself with the timer to do all 7 tasks as quickly and accurately as I can. By giving myself 7 to do rather than 6, I’m telling my brain this is possible in the time limit. This works 80% of the time, and because I work on Pareto’s Principle of 80/20, that’s a good enough system for me.
So if you want to feel like you’ve achieved a few things very quickly and for a positive mood to flow through your day, I encourage you to repeat these 7 steps every single day. Not only will you get through those annoying little tasks which have been hanging around for ages, but you will also start the day with more energy because you keep crumpling up (or deleting) Post-it Notes which means you can see the result and feel the relief.
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
Oh and by the way, in case it wasn’t clear, you have now created a very simple system which has increased your productivity and positivity; and as we all know, systems are the key to business success.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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