How to Manage To Do Lists
When preparing a “to do” list you should also consider the things you should not be doing during your day. It’s fine to have a well planned to do list each day, but if you are easily distracted then it will be the things that you are doing in-between completing your list that will be the big time wasters.
Time tracking is important for at least two reasons. First, it is the ‘quantitative’ constituent of effective time management. Secondly, computer-aided time tracking requires structuring your affairs into projects and tasks, which is an essential part of project management.
Must do List!
First, get clear about what is really important and what must be done during the day. Try to only have one or two really major tasks that you have to do for the day and make them an absolute priority. Obviously you will have more time to do other thing during the day, but the Must Do list is the list that has to be done before we even think about leaving the workplace.
To Do List!
After you are clear about a couple tasks that must be done, list several other jobs to do of lesser importance. These tasks should be done only after you have completed your Must Do list. That doesn’t mean that they should be taken lightly or treated as a wish list. List a sensible amount of tasks to complete and perhaps an extra one or two things to challenge yourself. But do not go overboard with way too many things as you will only be setting yourself up to fail each day by never completing all your set jobs.
Must Not Do List!
Now that you know what should be done, work out what should not be done, or what should be given the least priority. These are the tasks that we find ourselves doing when we lose focus or have a lapse in concentration during the day. Things like checking your E-mail every 10-20 minutes, checking statistics too often, browsing the Internet, watching hourly news reports, or whatever it is that you do to escape from your real work!
You can also use some of these time wasting tasks as a form of motivation to increase your productivity. For example, after completing a Must do task you could reward yourself with 15 minutes of browsing the Internet or writing E-mail to friends.
I use time tracking software because it helps me get a feel of how to manage time better with real life objectives I face everyday.
Most people that are actively trying to increase their productivity are aware of the importance of a To Do list, but many people forget to include the Not to do list. For those of us with wandering minds or restless feet it’s easy to get distracted and caught up in doing very low priority jobs while our highest priority jobs continue to pile up. Get clear about what you should be doing AND what you shouldn’t be doing to get the most out of each day.
Article by Kristine Geimure
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