Welcome to PINNACLE Business SolutionsA new study from LinkedIn reveals that our daily to-do lists are in dire need of a makeover. In a survey of more than 6,500 members, LinkedIn found that 71% of women report frequently keeping to-do lists, compared to only 60% of men.
That same survey found that 89% of professionals are unable to complete all of their daily tasks.
Listing tasks that you need to accomplish is a good first step, but it's not enough. Many of us fill our brains with life's mundane details and rules instead of allowing our minds to perform optimally. Worse, we spend endless hours worrying and wasting time instead of tackling the tasks and projects we're trying to juggle.
In an attempt to cope, we write big, small, critical, and nice-to-do things on "The List," which often grows faster than we can tick off the items. Essentially, we need a functional system to determine the appropriate time to take action and we need to be committed and disciplined to stick to our priorities.
Some of us computerise our lists. A number of resource tools are available on-line to help us. Others prefer writing their “To Do” list the old fashioned way….on a piece of paper! How you choose to draw up the list doesn’t matter. The key is to prioritise each item on our list - and then follow the ranking.
Glancing at the list once a day is not enough.
We must be consistent in referring to our list and we must revise it daily. Most people appear to review their accomplishments at the end of each day, so things of importance are fresh on their mind and they can co-ordinate their tasks with their calendar, but whatever system works best for each one of us is the method we should use.
Here are a few options to consider for prioritising:
1. Divide your page into three sections:
- urgent & important (these are fires that must be put out right away),
- important but not urgent (these are fire-prevention action items),
- urgent & unimportant (these can be delegated to others or taken care of after you have begun to handle the “important” items).
2. Use colour coding, i.e. “red” for urgent and important and “yellow” for not urgent but important, for example.
3. Arrange items by priority: numerically, alphabetically, or by time of day to be devoted to them (for instance, urgent and important should be kept for your first block of concentrated time in the day).
With thanks: Coach2Coach e-newsletter, June 5, 2012