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4 Quick Tips to Help Keep You On Track at Work

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In today’s digital world, do we really need to make lists to keep our time organized, efficient, and productive? I know I do! 

Anyone who knows me understands that I have a few passions: travel, cooking, my dog, and lists. I really do love lists, and have grown very dependent on them—perhaps a bit too dependent. In this age of computers, one could argue that we don’t need written lists anymore. Since all our gadgets sync to each other, we can simply have Alexa or Siri do the heavy lifting. But that just doesn’t do it for me. 

In my previous life as a caterer, I became quite dependent on lists to do all my planning, shopping, schedules, timelines, and deadlines. Of course, back then, all my lists were on paper—notes stuck on fridges and cookbook covers, notebooks filled with minute details of each and every component of an event. I left nothing to chance.

Here at Nomad, I wear many, many different hats: production manager, print buyer, media buyer, marketing director, project manager. What do all these roles have in common? You guessed it—they all require extreme organization.

Why, in this day of digital everything, can we not find a decent list app? According to an article in wired.com last March, there are plenty of options but no PERFECT solution. Google Keep is fast and easy to use, but doesn’t have a calendar view and has some other limitations. The app any.do for iPhones has some great features, but requires a Chrome add-on to work on the web. Wunderlust seems to be the top contender right now. However, none of these options have convinced me they’ll serve better than the old-fashioned option of paper and pencil.

Why is it so hard to finish a to-do list at work and what do we need to do to change that? Here are four quick tips to help keep our lists under control:

  1. Keep a single to-do list for work. Choose your list-keeping method, whether it’s digital or on paper, and stick with it. Make sure that you can add to your list from anywhere.
  2. Follow the 1-3-5 Rule: include one big job, three medium tasks, and five smaller tasks. I know, easier said than done, but you are bound to get at least half of your tasks completed with this method and will be rewarded with that great feeling of accomplishment!
  3. Use your calendar as a to-do list and schedule your tasks as if they were meetings. Lifehacker.com has some great hints on how this works.
  4. Reduce meetings! We have just started to SCRUM here at the office and find it’s a great way to keep everyone productive. You can learn more about how this works here.

So grab whatever online tool you like and happy organizing. Personally, I don’t think I am quite ready to put away my trusted pen and pad--old habits die hard.

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