Do you ever have days when, at five o’clock, you think “Well today was a big waste of time?” Most of us have experienced that at some time or another. We start out with good intentions, planning on ploughing through that “to do” list, only to find that most of its still there waiting to be tackled at the end of the day.
But don’t despair; you can become really productive using a simple time management technique that is truly easy to use.
Manage Your Day
At the beginning of each day set aside 15 minutes to write down in your work diary, all the jobs on your “to do” list – before you do anything else. When your list of jobs is complete, review it and mark each job with an A, B, C or D to indicate its importance and therefore its priority. Those jobs marked with an “A” should be the jobs that are going to be the most productive and are therefore the most important. Jobs marked with a “B” are those that you would like to get completed that day, but if they had to be put off until tomorrow or the day after it wouldn’t pose a major problem. Jobs marked with a “C” are the jobs that you need to do, but they are not urgent and can wait a few days without any drama. And finally, jobs marked with a D, are those you can delegate to someone else to do, and therefore free up some valuable time for yourself.
Action step: Go and get that diary you need to help you to implement your new time management skills.
Stick to your priority listing and don’t be tempted by those B, C and D jobs.
As time permits, work on your “A” jobs. Refuse to get sidetracked with the less important, but sometimes quicker or more attractive jobs on your list. Remember the “A” jobs will be your most productive, which means they need to be tackled first. Roll over your remaining jobs at the end of each day
Just before your work day draws to an end, review your list. Draw a line through your completed jobs, and take a minute to pat yourself on the back. You’ve actually been very productive. Take all remaining jobs that still need to be completed, and transfer them to tomorrow’s list. Sometimes jobs that have been sitting on your list for a while will have resolved themselves and will no longer need your attention. Draw a line through these also and take them no further.
The next day
First up, review the jobs you have carried over from the previous day and add any additional jobs to your list that have cropped up. Re-prioritise your list. What may have been a “B” job yesterday may now be an “A” job and can’t wait any longer to be done. Or, you may find other jobs that can now be delegated.
In the future
Continue to actively list and prioritise your jobs daily, and more importantly, stay strong and don’t be tempted to undertake those “B” and “C” jobs until the “A” jobs are completed.
If you follow this simple routine every day, you will find that you will accomplish much more than you have ever done in the past. Not only will your most important and productive jobs stop getting shuffled down the list until panic sets in, but your stress levels will drop when you have things that are important to your success, fully under control.
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