We are going to use some musical terms to define some of your work today. It doesn’t matter what kind of work you do, the everyday tasks associated with work are similar to most everyone. Grouping like tasks is a basic principle used to be productive. Is this task short and sweet? Staccato! or is this task longer? Legato!
I recently had the pleasure of learning from best selling author and organizing guru, Julie Morgenstern. She discussed some basic principles of time management: write things down, time scheduling, making decisions and executing a plan. Julie used musical metaphors as a way to illustrate tasks that can and should be grouped together for better efficiency.
These are short tasks and can be accomplished and gotten off you plate quickly, and then you can move on to the next thing. Tasks like making phone calls, responding or sending email, answering questions. Set aside a time of day when you will do these Staccato tasks. If you stick to doing these tasks during that time you’ll be less distracted during the rest of your work day.
These tasks take longer and require you set aside time in your schedule to “do” and move forward on them. Things like strategic planning, writing, research and design. You want to give yourself at least one hour of uninterrupted time in order to successfully move these projects to the finish line.
You can use this principle in your personal time too, using music to support and motivate you. Have you ever turned some music on while emptying the dishwasher? I’ll bet it was something upbeat and fast paced. On the other hand, are you like me and prefer more soothing (maybe slower) music like smooth jazz or classical music when you are concentrating on part of a longer project like making a big dinner. Do you think music creates an environment that helps you concentrate? I do.
I also attended the book launch of Julie Morgenstern’s new book Time to Parent. WOW! An innovative approach to time management for parents. I can’t wait to finish reading the book, so I can write about it. Stay tuned. But for the time being, be aware of how you spend your time. Group the small staccato tasks and schedule the longer legato tasks and play some music!