Monday, August 27, 2007

getting things done...

Too much on your plate and not enough time on your hands? We all have too much to do. How can we get more done in the same time? First, get organized. Some tips and tricks to do that are listed below. Second, use The UPS Store Winnipeg Downtown as your virtual marketing department…

cluttered deskCategorize your tasks

Use Windows or Mac folders or Outlook Tasks to do this - or any other system that works for you (yes, you can set up multiple, custom-labelled Outlook Task folders). Do not use more than seven categories. If tasks have deadlines, add them to your Calendar or set deadlines in the Outlook Tasks area. Otherwise, categories like “Professional”, “Personal”, and “Someday” might work for you. (”Someday” is a powerful one — it’s a place to put long-term goals like “get a pilot’s license”.)

First thing each day, empty your inbox.

Process every single item in your inbox by either filing it in one of the category locations you have created (more on this below) or completing it, and never make exceptions to this rule.

Label actions with next step.

As you are filing tasks to do later, make sure the label of the tasks (file name, subject line, or Outlook Task heading) contains two elements:1) Clear, concise description of the task; and 2) the next step. So a task might be labelled like this: “Set Up Monthly Budget Meeting | Call Steve for Availability.”

Follow the “seven-minute rule”.

Every time you read or handle a step or a task (or entire tasks) that might take less than seven minutes, complete it right then and there. More.

Read every task, every day.

Once your inbox is empty, go through each of your task-category folders, and just read what’s there. While doing this, you will be able to delete items that are no longer valid or that have been completed, “tweak” items with new information, and generally remind yourself what tasks are pending.

Create a “today” folder or list.

Create a short list of things you have to complete everyday (daily tasks like “review week in calendar” and “clean desk”). Add to that list the most urgent and/or important items as you are going through you inbox and task-category folders, Grab items you really want to complete today, and add them to your list. Then go through that list slavishly — doing exactly what it tells you to do, in the order it tells you. You can also do this with task-files in a folderor in an Outlook Task folder labelled “Today”.

The concepts above will relax your mind by getting to-do items out of your head and into your trusted system; give
you 24/7 “situational awareness”; and will motivate and propel you as you find yourself, yes, actually getting things done.

Also, note that it is not easy to see how these concepts help you until you actually do it. So try it.

Source: David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” edited with a few of my proven time management tricks.

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