The definition of a hamster wheel is when someone just keeps running in circles (and making the same mistakes) instead of progressing.
A bit of planning can get you off that wheel and help you to feel better about your mornings. Review again at the end of the day and organizing is just as important.
Here are 5 easy steps to get control and off the wheel: . . .
Emails – Instead of phone calls (unless it’s an immediate need), send an email. This will help you AND others to save time. In addition, I color-code emails to clearly see the status. After sending an email with a request, I move it back into my “Inbox” and tag it with GREEN. When receiving an email with a request, I tag it in RED and it shows as an outstanding item.
Voicemail – Unless you’re in customer service, you probably don’t have to answer every call. If possible, block out time to let calls go to voicemail so that you can concentrate on specific projects or tasks. Even better, close your office door and cut other distractions.
Reducing Paper – A multi-page scanner is a great investment. Scan correspondence, invoices, receipts, contracts, etc. You will save filing space and it’s a faster way of sharing information with others. Make sure you have a logical filing system on your computer or server to find what you need later and don’t forget to back up the files!
Task Lists – These are necessities. If you don’t have a structured system, develop it now. If you have one, ask yourself “How effective is this?” “Can I clearly see the priorities?” “Do I have due dates and times associated with each task?”
End of Day – set an alert to sound 1 hour before the end of your work day. This will give you time for the following:
- Find a good “stopping place” for what you’re currently working on.
- Review unchecked voice mails and emails and add them to your task list by priority
- Tidy up your desk and physical surroundings for the next morning.
The hamster called, he wants his wheel back and you don’t need it anymore.