Ever feel like no matter how hard you work, nothing ever seems to get done?
With the endless amount of tasks it takes to accomplish a trade show, this is a problem that plagues both exhibitors and show organizers.
So whenever you find you’re not as productive as you’d like (or need) to be, you probably need to focus on the following four areas:
1 – Set Priorities
How do you start working on your daily list of things to do? Do you just pick an item off the list at random and jump in?
If so, one reason you’re not getting things done could be the result of not setting the right priorities. We do best at identifying priorities when we start with a list of three to five daily items (not 15 or 20), and then rank them from most to least important.
2 – Tackle Distractions Head-on
Your day may be speeding by without getting anything done simply because you’ve failed to eliminate distractions. In fact, you may not even realize what’s distracting you.
We live in an age of constant notifications from the ever-present screens all around us. Add to this some good-old-fashioned interruptions from people and phone calls, and it’s a wonder any of us ever gets anything done.
While working on important tasks, turn off your electronic devices and don’t check email. Let people around you know that you’re not to be distracted during this time. If there are important phone calls or urgent matters, either take care of them quickly and move on or arrange another time when you can give them your full attention.
3 – Understand & Avoid Parkinson’s Law
Even with a well-prioritized to-do list, you may find yourself at the end of the day with several items still untouched. That’s because of Parkinson’s Law, which says that everything takes longer than expected and work expands to fill the time allowed.
One good way to avoid this is to block off a specific amount of time for each item. Decide for example that you’re going to spend one hour on a project, or that you’re only going to work on a certain task for a maximum of two hours, then pick it back up again the next day.
4 – Find Your Daily Rhythm
We all have certain times of day when we’re more productive than others, and that’s okay. It’s important to understand your peaks and valleys so that you can schedule the most important or difficult tasks during your most productive times.
For example, if you’re at your best in the late mornings, then set aside that time to get your high-priority work done. Eliminate distractions and focus on the most pressing tasks during these peak hours.
We also have optimal times for certain types of tasks. You may be best at problem-solving in the afternoon after lunch. Or you might find that early evening is the time when you’re most likely to get fresh ideas and inspiration. Scheduling tasks during the appropriate times is the best way to play to your strengths and rhythms to get more done.
You can improve your efficiency by keeping your goals in mind and making sure that the tasks you spend your time on get you closer to them.
What are your biggest challenges when it comes to managing your time and getting everything done? Please share in the comments below. And watch for my upcoming course in the Exhibit Marketers Academy to learn the 3 P’s of time management – Prioritizing, Planning, and Producing.
© 2019 Marlys K. Arnold (Reprinted from the September 2019 TradeShowTips Online. To receive tips like this in your inbox every month, please take a moment to fill out this request.)
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