Your day has begun. How should you choose where to begin with your To Do List?
Next simplest: The 1 – 3 – 5 Rule from the Muse: 1 big thing, 3 medium, 5 little.
Julie Morgenstern’s Return on Investment:
- Estimated time
- Steps to results
- A-important tasks that contribute to goals MUST do
- B-moderately important SHOULD do
- C-least important COULD do
Stephen R Covey’s time management matrix:
- Quadrant I-important and urgent
- Quadrant II-important but not urgent
- Quadrant III-urgent but not important
- Quadrant IV-not urgent and not important
Increase Quadrant II activities, decrease Quadrant III and IV activities, and manage Quadrant I activities.
Also Known as the Eisenhower Box
See also Time Management is Self-Management at Semidoppel’s Reports.
Ask which tasks…
- are High Value (urgent and/or important?)
- will fit the amount of time available now?
- will fit the amount of energy available now?
- Quadrant I (Important/Urgent): includes Repeating tasks, recurring, routine tasks
- Quadrant II (Important/Not Urgent): includes Goals and planning
- Quadrant III (Urgent/Not Important): includes Distractions, interruptions
- Quadrant IV (Not Urgent/Not Important): includes Time wasters
When nothing is urgent, consider looking for The Sweet Spot.
Remember the Pareto Principle, or 80/20 rule.
See more about the Pareto Principle at Measuring Productivity. Jim Temme in the book “Productivity Power” says that we spend about 80 percent of our day working on job description activities (what I think of as repeating tasks) that yield only 20 percent results. The challenge is to use the remaining 20 percent of discretionary time on goal-related activities that yield 80 percent results.
Use time chunking, time boxing, or time blocking – see mattgallant.tv and entrepreneur. David Seah’s tools are all about keeping on task too. Using a timer increases awareness of time passing by and focuses attention on high priority tasks.
Always ask: “What is the best use of my time right now?” -Alan Lakein