By Clare Kumar
Our goals and objectives lead to numerous actions. Writing them down can help us make sure we don’t forget them, but is there a best way to do it? Here are three strategies to keep your To Do list under control:
1. Create master lists – one professional and one personal
Write down actions in one place so you know where to find them. It can be in a planner or notebook or on your computer or smartphone. Make sure it is in a place that can be carried with you and that you find easy to update.
Even though personal and professional time often extends throughout the day, schedule focused periods for work and home tasks. Keeping two separate lists – one for work tasks and one for a home to do’s – makes it easy to find tasks appropriate for the period of time you are scheduling.
2. Keep it simple
If you create an overly complex system to track to do’s you will be less likely to use it. The list should serve as a memory jogger or menu from which to plan your time. You may wish to note critical dates for required deliverables and any high priority or urgent items. Dry-erase calendars are easy to update and help you maintain a highly visible reference for dates you just can’t afford to forget.
Schedule both activities (30 minutes or more) and deadlines in your planner. What about the myriad of shorter actions – responding to emails, returning phone calls, filing papers? Also, schedule a block of time to tackle short tasks. Refer to your task lists and select a reasonable number to attend to in this period of time. Write them directly in your planner if space allows, on a whiteboard or on a small index card or sticky note which you discard at the end of the day.
Be reasonable about the number of tasks you can accomplish in a day to avoid feelings of frustration and inadequacy. If you have unexpected gaps in your day, you can easily identify additional tasks to knock off your list.
Make it a habit to use these simple strategies and you’ll be well on your way to making the most of your time.
Coming up next in the series: Time Management: Strategies-Three Tools to Manage Your Time
ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.