Last week I attended a week-long workshop as the resident communications ‘expert’ and I knew my regular routine work was going to be completely turned upside down. In preparation for the workshop, I spent some time thinking about what I was not going to be able to do in my usual work, and what tasks had to be done come-what-may as part of my regular work. It was an eye-opening experience because when I usually do workshops it is for one day, or two at the most, and I am still able to get my regular daily routine tasks done without any serious interruption.
So, here’s what I did, and here’s what you can do if this ever happens to you:
1. Prepare the ground.
Go through your routines folder in your todo list and have a look at what things you will not be able to do that week. One of my daily tasks, for instance, is to confirm classes each day. Obviously as I was away doing a workshop I was not going to be doing those classes, so I was able to check off these until the following week. In this case, all I needed to do was check “complete” 5 times and this took the next due date to the following Monday. I was able to do this with five or six daily tasks and about the same number of weekly tasks. This avoided the situation where I had a lot of tasks on my daily todo list, that were not relevant for that day.
2. Get as many tasks done before you go
The workshop coincided with the end of the month which meant I would have a few routine month end tasks to complete during the workshop. Instead, I did these tasks a few days before the end of the month so I only had to email reports and month end invoices on their due dates. This meant I did not spend any time during the workshop worrying about the things I needed to do, as all I had to do was send the email. The hard work had already been done.
3. Do a Mini-Review each evening before you retire.
During the course I was collecting ideas and commitments as normal. I realised if I did not process these regularly, I would have a huge list of items waiting for me in my inbox at the end of the week. So, I spent twenty minutes or so each evening before retiring processing these items and also checking to make sure nothing was forgotten or hiding somewhere that needed doing. This made sure I was always stress-free and not worrying about missing anything.
Whenever you go away on a workshop or even on holiday you do not want the experience spoilt by worrying about what you are not doing. As an organised person, you want to be free from stress and to be able to enjoy the event. Taking a little time before you go to make sure you are on top of everything and that any tasks that can be put off until you return are put of so they are not going to be popping up on your daily todo list causing you to rush around trying to find time to do them. You need to be relaxed and open to learning new things. As David Allen says “In order to feel comfortable with whatever you’re doing, you need to feel OK with what you’re not doing”.
Hopefully these three steps will help you to get the most out of these events.