Do you have an “in the background” project that you are supposed to be doing? Are you getting it done?
Quite frequently we have “in the background” projects such as filing, record keeping, databases etc that are ancillary to the job we do, a bit on the dull side but nevertheless important to do – at some point. Usually it is a mixture of ‘I don’t particularly want to do this’ and ‘I don’t have time to do this’ as quite often there are more important and more interesting things to be getting on with.
However, if we don’t dedicate any time to “in the background” projects they will never get done (or when we do have time will be so overwhelming that we don’t know how to get started).
Step 1: allocate one hour a day to “in the background” projects.
For example, at the moment I am trying to update our client database at work. This is a long task and requires files to be checked and addresses etc to be updated, duplicates removed etc and then the re-labeling and re-filing of the files. I have the assistance of a secretary for this job but both of us are continuously kept busy with our ‘real job’. So we have decided to allocate an hour a day so that we know that we have at least made a little bit of progress each day.
Step 2: Choose a specific hourly slot
It is not enough to say you will dedicate an hour a day to the task you also need to think about when the best hour in the day is for you. Choose an hour where you will actually get things done with minimal interruptions or if an easy admin task when your productivity is at rock bottom.
For example I normally choose the first hour of the day as I am an early bird and in the office before everyone else. This gives me some time which is usually interruption free so I can get it out-of-the-way before starting the rest of my day. By contrast the secretary who is assisting me has chosen the opposite end of the spectrum and uses her last hour of the day after the post has gone as anything she does after post will not be going out until the next day anyway. She can’t do it in the morning like I do as she is usually swamped with phone calls.
Step 3: Block it out in your Calendar
Add it to your schedule or diary.