1. Avoid interruption: If possible, leave your phone on voice mail during times you have scheduled to work on projects. If you have a private office, close your door. You might even place a sign saying something like “Hard at Work: Please Come Back Later.” If you are interrupted, help keep the interruption short by remaining task-oriented.
2. Schedule time to make phone calls and return e-mail. When you leave a phone message, list times that you will be available by phone. Ask the other party to do the same – it will save you both a lot of time that would otherwise be spent on everyone’s favorite game, phone tag. Also, avoid checking your voice mail and e-mail frequently. Instead, review them at scheduled intervals during the day.
3. Plan stress breaks throughout the day. Make sure you give yourself a break! Working to the point of total brain fatigue and muscle tension will never do you any good. Stretch, take some deep breaths, and go out to get your lunch, call your kids – do something to give yourself a little break. If you’d like, you can schedule these breaks as a reward for when you’ve finished a particular chore.
4. Appreciate your own approach. Just as we are all different in other ways, we all have diverse organizational styles. Keep in mind that you have gotten where you are today because of whom you are and what you have accomplished. Employ improved organizational skills to enhance your personal style, not change it. Getting organized should make you feel good, not burdened.
5. Stick to your plan. The best-laid plans often fall victim to their makers. While spontaneity is important, there is a fine line between it and plain procrastination. Once you’ve come up with a good plan for tackling a task, stay with it. Only you can prevent yourself from wavering.