How to complete everything planned... and survive

How to complete everything planned... and survive

May 19, 2022

by Oleksandra Dovha, HR Specialist at InterLogic

High level of personal drive, love for challenge, and initiative 

In today's world, this term is a must for almost every job description, any position. And this is not surprising, because it has long been known that soft skills are if not the main then mega important for work. 

To develop hard skills you need to pass courses and obtain a certificate. As for soft skills – a small spoiler, it will be harder) As Lesya Ukrainka wrote, "I will lift a heavy stone on a steep flint mountain" - I immediately associate it with pumping soft skills :) 

Such skill must be developed constantly because, in my opinion, technical skills are reinforced, or rather regulated by soft skills. I will tell you in more details what I mean. 

For example, we have such basics as motivation, thoughtfulness, and determination. If this encourages the development of skills? - Yes. If it helps in pumping up and application? - yes, yes, yes. 

Therefore, this article is for those who are interested in starting developing such skills as the ability to set and achieve goals/objectives, focus on tasks, and be focused. 

Let's go into details and get them one by one:) 


How to set goals and achieve them 

Take, for example, the ideal situation where the manager sets global goals, and your responsibility remains pleasant: to prioritize and decompose, instead of receiving unclear tasks from the customer and dividing them – that`s the task for PM and BA (this article is not for you :) 

Let's start with simple planning. Most of us work on Agile methodology, mostly Scrum, and accordingly have 2-3 weekly sprints.  
Based on these parameters, the best solution is to set goals for the week, do it on Monday, and check the results for yourself on Friday. It sounds simple, but to start with, try to define tasks correctly and check the result. Let`s do it. 

We continue to go into details and then take as an example a standard working day. 

First of all, you should have an aim for the day. 


It's great to understand how many real tasks you can do in a day. 

For example, I will for sure do 2 tasks a day, all the rest I will complete the unplanned ones. Set yourself as a rule that there should be 1-3 tasks that you will perform per day. 

How is it reflected in planning? Let`s begin with bases – here is a to-do list. 

If you do not have the practice to use to-do lists but have questions about planning, I have bad news for you – get used to working with a to-do list. 

To do this, humanity has come up with a huge number of applications, you just need to choose a user-friendly interface for yourself. 

Apps for Android  

Apps for iOS  

To be honest, having so many apps, I personally use notes from the iOS system and a paper notebook, not quite popular stuff, but I'm okay with that. 

My life hacks are: 

  • electronic notes - plans for the week; 
  • paper notebook - urgent tasks and only those for today, once completed - crossed out and forgotten. 


Having chosen a convenient application or method, having organized it into a list, let`s move further. 

We start with prioritization, determination of the task gradation. The answers for the following questions will help us: 

- Will any tasks launch a more global process and do other people depend on it? 

- How will the accomplishment of this task help me move forward? 

- Will the result I get help me move forward? 

Thus, you will have a roughly prioritized list of tasks. 

The next thing you need to do in any task is decomposition. If we talk about decomposition, then this picture best describes it for me. 

When we have a big, blurred, not clear task, then it is not clear where to start. 

  • Where to start? 
  • What result do I want to get? 
  • What I need to get this result? 
  • Who will be involved in this task, or to whom the part can be delegated? 


When we clearly understand what steps we need to take, we follow them in any task, we are sure. 

Lifehacks: it is ideal to have templates or best practices for all tasks. It will help and simplify the time and desire to do this, but you can only strive for it. 

It is important, after the decomposition of tasks, firstly to do the most important, most unpleasant tasks and then move on to that routine. The so-called "Eat a frog for breakfast". 

Then you understand that you have already made the foundation. What is left is working on fewer priority tasks, still the day is already successful. 


Another interesting thing is to define what time of day is most productive for you. 

You need to understand which half of the day or hour is the most suitable for performance of particular tasks. Therefore, you need to check and answer the question of when you do them best. We divide them into 3 categories: 

  • creative – creating something new; 
  • routine – the once you do every day, repetitive; 
  • ad-hoc – unplanned tasks, which appear during the day 

Having identified this, it becomes obvious how to plan your day correctly. For example, in the morning you`re doing routine tasks, then creative ones, and finally get to the ad-hoc ones, or vice versa. The main thing is that you know and understand when and which ones is the best for you to perform. 


The Pareto Principle is considered to be a perfect option for one of the approaches that should be followed - when the processes are set in such a way that 20% of your efforts give 80% of the result. 

Sounds cool, right? 

How to strive for this? 

Use your previous experience, templates, best practices, optimization of routine work, and delegation. 


And the last important point to stay focused and plan, is to have clear deadlines for all the tasks you do. They can be for a day/week/sprint/other but it is important to set some exact time for each of them. 


How to focus on tasks, or to be Here and Now. 

There are different methods to achieve this goal. The most important is the right planning, see tips above. Now let`s talk about technical issues: 

  • Notifications on applications and chats during the working day should be turned off or set only for urgent issues. It is well-known that defocusing is the reason for not achieving goals. 
  • Do not start a new action item until you finish the previous one. Unless it is urgent of course. 
  • Working with the calendar. There are many interesting life hacks, e.g. booking time for productive work – thus no one will set you a meeting for this time; also putting reminders for deadlines, etc. 
  • Reminders. They can be in a calendar, or as a separate function. You can make reminders about the start of the task, the deadline, a separate meeting , a task as a whole, etc. 


The main message - set the whole workflow as comfortable as possible to work. 


Effective schedule management. Cases of our employees 


Iryna Yemets  
HR Lead Interlogic  

Being a manger it is often hard to concentrate on the tasks as you receive quite a lot of different requests on the variety of topics. However, it is important to remember a few things if you want not only to deal with requests but also complete your to-do list. Most of them are quite common, so I`ll share what works for me. 

- Create a to-do list for the week and for the day, considering the time you have for meetings and adding about 10% of time for unexpected requests. Believe me - they will appear) 

- Prioritize the tasks. If it is possible - delegate to someone else. In most cases there is someone who can do the task better or for whom it will be an area for professional development. 

- Still, sometimes I do take some unimportant but interesting tasks just to have a chance to switch and have a rest. This keeps me motivated and love my job for versatility. 

- Create a working atmosphere for yourself. Go to meeting room, work from home, just put on headphones and turn on some neutral music. Book yourself time in your calendar for some tasks/focus time/even lunch :) 

- And the most important - you have to love what you`re doing. For sure there always be some tasks that just need to be done. But in general, if you love your job, if you do what actually drives you - you will be motivated to achieve the goals and focus on the task as you want it to be done in the best way. 


Anna Danylevych  
HR specialist  

When I am planning a meeting, I prefer to add 15 minutes more to be able to relax between meetings and have more energy for the next one.  

Also, I plan meetings in the morning and afternoon, because in the evening I would like to do other tasks (work with documents, answer in the chats, plan the next day, etc.)  

And the main rule is that it is better to plan fewer tasks for a day than too many. If you have done all the tasks you have planned, you will feel that you had a very productive day) If you don't have enough planned tasks, you can always add some additional ones) 


Thanks, girls)

We move on. 


Sometimes when we need to perform a huge number of planned tasks, and it is important not to be distracted and not switch to meet the deadline. In such case I recommend the Pomodoro Method. 

There are five steps to follow this method: 

  1. select the task you want to do 
  2. set the pomodoro (timer) for 25 minutes 
  3. work until the timer rings, mark it with an x 
  4. take a short break (3-5 minutes) 
  5. take a longer break every four “pomodori” (15-30 minutes) 

And lastly, to understand what motivates you to perform a task and get the maximum out of work, you need to determine whether you are a person oriented on results or process.  

How to do it: observe your daily work and answer the question – “what brings me pleasure at work”? 

For example, there is a task to draw a picture. Imagine you are drawing it. What gives you a bigger pleasure? 

You just need to get a fast result? Not perfect but still it`s done.  

Or you`d better like the doing itself? Slowly drawing, each line is clear and nice, not in a hurry and enjoying the process? 

I guess you know the corresponding answers. 

Accordingly, if you are a person of action, take your time for it, have fun during the process, set longer deadlines and enjoy it. Understand what motivates you. 

If you are a result-oriented person, do it quickly - amuse yourself, then get back to it and correct mistakes. Accordingly, take into account that you will need 2 approaches to perform this task :) 


So, the main point that you should have to call yourself a self-driven person is to use the well-known principles and approaches for planning. And have fun while doing it. 

As they say, it takes 21 days for the habit to take a root, that's what I wish you. 


Useful links on the topic: