I think for this year we should concentrate on our own ideas and what works for each of us personally. Let's share our experiences and struggles and try to each perfect our own system.
I'm convinced that having some set of policies and guidelines -- a "routine" of sorts, is important for most of us to stay on track. So this year let's try to each of us focus on refining the techniques that work for us individually.
I'll post my "system" in a few days.. Meanwhile I'd like to hear what you guys do!
I don't have a structured system, probably couldn't stick to it if I did - what works for me is a framework for me to follow.
Its pretty simple and quite flexible, and that makes it easier for me stick to.
-Do the worst, hardest, least attractive task first. This has lots of benefits - I feel like I've accomplished something and gets rid of that "hanging over my head oh I really, really don't want to do that" feeling.
If I do this early enough in the day, I'm usually done before my brain engages enough to start squawking about it.
-Decide what is important and high priority and respond to that as soon as possible. Leave the rest for the time I've blocked out to take care of more usual things.
-Put things back. Such a simple idea, but I have a hard time implementing it. To get around this, I have a "ten minutes or less" rule.
I look at my list of things to do, and decide which of them can be done in ten minutes or less. I either decide what to do from the list, or I put things away for ten minutes - amazing the amount of things that can get done in such a short time.
Most of them take less than 10 minutes, usually closer to five minutes. I like to do this once or twice a day, just because I'm always amazed at how much can get done in such a short time.
My brain appears to be loosely attached to time -there's this persistent idea that it takes forever to do anything, so I don't do it because I don't have enough time.
-Shred everything that needs to be shredded the minute it comes in the door or when I'm done with it.
This helps prevent the paper piles from procreating so rapidly. The shredder is always plugged in and its in a place that's easy to get to.
One of my friends has the shredder next to the front door so they shred things when they bring the mail in. It works for them.
-I don't answer the phone much if I'm busy. I set aside a time to return calls and call back then. This isn't hard because I do not like the phone. Really. Anyone gets a much faster response from me if they email me.
-No multi-tasking. I work better and faster if I do one thing at a time. Otherwise none of what I'm trying to multi-task gets done well. Usually things don't get done because it fell by the wayside why I was tasking it with something else.
Being able to give my full attention to something or someone is a pleasure.
-Have fun. Take a break and do something I like to do. Go outside, read a favorite blog or website, anything I enjoy that fits into what's going on at the moment.
-Make lists. I love lists, and for longest time I could never make them work for me. I'd lose the paper I wrote them on. I couldn't remember what file they were in on my hard drive. Then I found the program Swift-To-Do-List, and for whatever reason it clicks with me. Its easy to use and I remember to look at it and add things to it.
I manage to get along pretty well using this framework. Its what works when so many other things haven't. I'll add something if I think it will work, and stop something if it isn't working.