During high-stress times and times of extreme transitions, such as when changing to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, it can help to step away from technology and put a pen to paper when planning work-related tasks. Diaries and notebooks serve as valuable time-management tools for planning out your days and increasing productivity.
Plan in Advance
Set aside time at the beginning of each day to plan out the day's and week's activities. Make notes regarding must-do activities as well as less important tasks you hope to complete but can move to the next day if necessary.
Try to put only one activity on each line so it's easy to place a check mark beside each completed task. Checking off tasks offers a sense of satisfaction because it provides a visual account of time well spent.
Keep Track of Multiple Requests
Recording tasks that need to be completed in a diary or notebook helps with keeping track of multiple requests, and it's especially helpful when working remotely. Make a note of things that need to be done as soon as each task is assigned to help support your memory so you don't run the risk of forgetting important tasks.
Schedule Based on Priority
Choose specific times and schedule key tasks you need to complete. Leave gaps in your schedule when possible and use the unscheduled times to complete less vital tasks.
Draw attention to the most important tasks and ideas in your notebook or diary by using different-coloured ink for key projects. Using a multi-subject notebook is another way to separate the things that need to be done first from tasks that can be completed at a slower pace.
Escape Technology and Distractions
Consider turning off electronic devices and picking up a traditional notebook or journal to record and schedule work tasks. When you're used to working in a fast-paced setting, taking a break from the distraction of technology can help you accomplish more.
While it may not be reasonable to keep your phone off all day, for example, you could go into your phone settings and use the do not disturb function each morning when planning your workday. Or you could turn it off for half an hour or so. This technique gives you a bit of time to focus on what you need to do and make a plan to get everything done without being distracted by a ringing phone or your favourite social media app.