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Manage Work| 4

Manage Work| 4

Day to Day by DanceofChaos

1.1         Planning and Organising Tasks

If you have to stick to a major deadline, plan it ahead with enough buffer time in it to accomplish within deadline. Do not leave everything for the last moment. This creates unnecessary stress and tension and the quality of work decreases.

Planning ahead always helps. Almost all projects, big or small in professional world have a time schedule for this reason. You know the deadline and you plan backwards, with enough buffer to account for unavoidable roadblocks.

1.1.1        Planning Tools

There are a wide variety of planning tools available to us, be it digital or on paper. This also include the different planning methods you can use to manage all the tasks at hand.         Kanban Boards

 A Kanban board is a simple but effective tool to visualise and implement effective project management. The word Kanban comes from Japanese and it is a lean method to manage and  improve work across multiple systems. Kanban is used widely in different organisations and you can also implement some form of it to manage your personal work and other personal tasks. 

For details on Kanban, lean method or Kanban board, Wikipedia is a very good start.

A simple Kanban board consists of  To-do, Doing, Done list. If you have worked in organizations, you can assign co-workers roles on the different tasks to complete.

There are many Kanban boards available in the working world to chose from. Tools like Jira, Microsoft planner, Trello are all different forms of Kanban board suiting your need.         To Do Lists

For your personal need, usually a Kanban board is superfluous. A simple to do list is usually enough.

I use Microsoft To Do as my go to To Do list for all things work. This is a relatively new tool from Microsoft and it can gather all the tasks delegated to me at different Microsoft tools and bring it to one place automatically. Before To-Do, I would usually create a weekly To-Do list for work at Note or Excel and check them off.

That is for work. There are also other To-Dos. For example, reminding yourself to go grocery shopping, doing laundry also form a part of the usual to do lists. I do like using bullet journal method to keep track of my personal plans and remind myself of my other commitments. I will talk about it in the personal section of this post.         Priority Matrix

One more topic in this section is using the priority matrix. This is a principle where all upcoming tasks are arranged in a two by two matrix. The matrix helps a user to visualise all the current and upcoming tasks and grade them according to their urgency and importance. This is used in a lot of businesses to focus on matters in hand and not get lost in technical details.

  • The critical and immediately are to be dealt with immediately.
  • The not critical but immediate tasks : Set deadlines and build in check points for tracking
  • Low critical tasks with less urgency : these tasks are in third quadrant and can be assigned or delegated.
  • Other tasks : Delegating to appropriate people and trying to eliminate them if they are not necessary.

They have become necessary tools for project management these days.

You can read more about Priority matrix in this amazing blog I found online : How priority matrix can helo focus you on what matters the most.

1.1.2        Planners

Many uses planners to plan their day and task these days. These can be a nice planner notebook. For a lot of us, our online calenders like outlook or google serve as our planners. It is important to schedule in the private time in work planners. This makes sure that chore is not ignored, or the private dance class you planned is not cancelled because of a last minute meeting.

My outlook calender is the main meeting planning tool these days. I have started to block schedules as private and out of house there, to make sure the necessary personal activities or health activities are not ignored because of some last minute meeting invitation.

1.1.3        Mood boards

Mood boards are a powerful tool for creatives like designers and photographers. They help them to visualise the design brief, create a theme and design according to the theme. No one said that you cannot add mood boards though. Metallic photo frame grids or a simply cork board can be your mood board to brighten up your mood as well. Put some pictures of the people, animals, things you love on their; let them motivate you. You can put a workflow chart or key milestone there too. Jazz it up with a postcard or a sprig of your favourite herb. Put some lavender if you can find them. The soothing smell is a major stress release.

Working from home is challenging as it does not let you actively disengage from work. But spending fifteen hours a day at office is also not healthy for a balanced lifestyle. Life is just a ongoing balancing game. Read on about some ideas and experiences on how to manage the personal time.

Image courtesy : Christian . This was drawn exclusively by him for using in the blog and is part of the copyright of the blog. Do not publish without permission.

Manage Work| 4

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  1. Fully agree! Idea for the next post: how to keep all these tools synchronized. e.g. I want all this information in my calender.

    1. DanceofChaos

      Oh, if you use office 365, they are all synchronized. But I am totally gonna write a post on it, now that you want to read it

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