My Favorite Time Management Tool
As I promised last week, today I am sending you one of my favorite time management tools.
This tool was inspired by Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, to which I have included a link at the end of this post. If you have worked with me, you are likely familiar with it.
You can use the Important Tasks Time Management Tool to prioritize all of the important tasks you wish to accomplish.
Many high achievers have difficulty deliberately delaying tasks that are important, but not necessarily urgent. We feel that we have to complete a task as soon as we commit to it or as soon as we remember it, often because we are afraid that if we don’t start it right away, we may forget it. By using this tool, you’ll learn that just because a task is important to you, it does not necessarily need to be done today… or this minute, for that matter. It simply needs to be recorded and planned for. Planning is key, and the minute you assign it to a category, you have started to plan and thus started on the road to success.
Organizing your priorities by category, including those that need to be done today vs. tomorrow, vs. this week, or this month, or sometime, helps you avoid getting sidetracked by important tasks that you only seem to remember when you are working on something else (sound familiar?) or when you are preparing for a transition, such as leaving for work or putting children to bed. You can add them to your list and move on with your day.
Our brains don’t always remind us about information at a convenient time, which is where this tool can help.
Here’s how to use it:
- First, open it and print a copy. You might want to carry this tool with you in a notebook or briefcase for a few days so that you can easily add items as you recall them (you will be amazed at what comes into your consciousness as you begin using the tool).
- List all of your “to do” items in the space at the top
- Assign each item to a column, based upon when you want it completed.
- Revisit this tool each day, preferably in the morning and at night, checking off the tasks you have accomplished, and adding new tasks as they come in.
- This tool works best if you print one copy for each day and use a fresh one each morning or evening as you do your daily planning. You can use post-its for tasks in the “this week,” “this month” and “sometime” columns, so that you don’t have to re-write every day. Simply move them to the fresh sheet each time you start one.
Remember that the tool does not need to “look pretty” to work well. As you add to it, especially in the early days of using it, you will likely use different pens and pencils to add to it as you remember new items. You might scribble notes in the margins or run out of space in a column. You will want to override your perfectionistic tendencies and USE THE TOOL. Don’t let the tool use you.
Please feel free to leave comments, questions or suggestions once you have some experience using this tool. It can be refined as needed, based upon your individual requirements. Enjoy!
If you are interested in learning more or working with me,
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Until next week, my friends,
Here’s to your deliberate life!