Our islanders share their secrets.
Concentrating on our daily schedules in the office (or at home, if you’re a freelancer) can often be a hard task. With so many distractions, like chats with your colleagues or a new music video, it’s quite easy to get distracted and end up leaving important projects until the last minute. So it’s no wonder that we’re stressed out all the time.
I have to admit that even I have my moments of procrastination, no matter how hard I try to schedule my day. However, if I have a deadline to meet, I plug in my earphones and listen to rock music so loud it drowns everything out, and I speed through my work without interruption. But, I had to know how other people dealt with meeting deadlines, so I chatted with three Lankans, and they shared their tips on what works for them when it’s crunch-time.
Be meticulous and complete one task at a time
Srishani, 21, who works as an administrative assistant at Asiri Lanka Footwear (Pvt) Ltd., described herself a disciplined person when it comes to her work. “Personally, the method that works best for me is noting down all my tasks for the day according to the order of priority,” she said. “Then, I complete them one by one, instead of trying to multi-task and not finishing anything. Since my role includes managing EPF and ETF, answering customer queries via phone, maintaining ledgers and keeping track of employee attendance, giving my attention to one task at a time makes it easier to complete my list of to-dos, with less hassle.”
Cut out the noise and let people know you’re unavailable
“When I’m given projects to be implemented, I put on my earphones and play loud music. That way my colleagues are aware that I don’t want to be disturbed. I also change my status on Skype to ‘busy’ so no one tries to contact me online while I’m trying to finish my work. If I have to plan something out, I usually do a visual representation of my ideas – whether it’s a solo or team project,” shared Purna, 27, a senior software engineer at the Colombo Center for Cognitive Computing.
Take a break from work
“If I get stuck without a solution to a problem, I leave my seat, walk around the office, annoy someone or watch a video for inspiration. It often helps to discuss my issues with a colleague, and between the two of us, we’d come up with an answer,” explained Purna.
Schedule your day and your goals
“We have a separate room in my office for something we call ‘Quiet Time’,” said Purna. “This is where we all plan out our agenda. We dedicate an hour in the morning and another in the evening to do this. We have to maintain complete silence as we plan our daily tasks and how to meet deadlines. I find this extremely useful because I know exactly what my day’s going to look like.”
“Get an early start and map out your goals for the day,” said Anisha, 30, the Digital Media Strategist for Cinnamon Hotels and Resorts. “When you write everything down, it gives you clarity and your daily tasks achievable. I am a great believer in the SMART goals theory and try my best to incorporate that into my everyday life.
I am generally at work by 7.30 AM, one whole hour before work starts. This time gives me a quiet space to plan out my goals for the day, in order of priority and time specifics. A lot of the work I do, especially content creation, is time specific and deadline driven. This is mostly because social media is planned in accordance with a posting schedule that has been researched, tweaked and set in advance,” Anisha explained.
Preparation is vital for efficiency
“I am always on the go, so being prepared is incredibly important,” Anisha commented. “My work space is very minimalist as everything I need is in my backpack: laptop, two phones, hard-drive, dongle, pen drives and every other gadget imaginable. All the equipment needs to be charged and ready to just grab-and-go. I rarely use paper, unless it’s my notebook or post-it notes left on my desk by my teammates when we’re tracking and mapping out data. I’m my most creative at night, so as soon as I get into bed, I brainstorm ideas for content, scripts and campaigns, which I jot down and email to myself. You could say that work is my passion, so, internally, I never switch off.”
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