Archive for October, 2011

After you create and prioritize your to-do list, it’s time to utilize it.
since your list only has the important things on it, and it’s prioritized, you can easily move through your list based upon the priority of each item on it.

Start with your top priority items (A) and work your way through the tasks on your list in order of priority.  Two key things to remember are to place something into your calendar if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete, and don’t have more than 2 top priorities each day.  Cross off items as you complete them.

If something happens during the course of a day and some things don’t get done, move them to an appropriate day for completion.  It’s important to spend time each day planning your to-do items for the next day.  Just a quick 5-10 minutes at the end of each day will set you up for the following day so that you’re ready to roll.

Whether you’re using paper lists or electronic, the habits are the same.  If your time management personality is a fit for electronic tools, you can use a to-do list associated with the electronic time management tool you use or there are online tools that will support you as well.  Three of the most popular right now are:

  • Wunderlist-available on almost every platform—windows, iPad, iPhone, Android, Mac
  • Tooledo-pretty much does what a SmartPhone would already do, but it’s good for sharing information if the usual computer sync isn’t right for your situation.  It can be used with BlackBerry, Mac OS, or Android
  • 2Do-runs on both iPhone and iPad

If you’re looking for an electronic to-do list, try one of these or the host of others that are available online.

Once you’ve created your to-do list, the items on it should be prioritized.  Ideally, when the items reach your to-do list they should already have a priority based upon the priority of the projects or goals they are related to.  If, however, you don’t have that system in place yet, look at the items on your to-do list and assign a priority to each.  I recommend the ABC method when it comes to prioritizing.

Of course a top priority or something that is very important would be an “A” task.  Things that have serious negative consequences fall under this category.

A “B” priority is considered important-not as important as an “A” task.  There are only minor negative consequences for not completing it.

“C” priorities are things that would be nice to do, of course, not as important as A&B priorities and there aren’t any negative consequences for not completing them.

You can even take it a step farther.  Look at all of you’re a tasks and assign numbers to them so that you end up with A1, A2, etc.  Anything beyond a “C” priority is something that can be “D”, delegated or “E”, eliminated altogether.  Things beyond a “C” priority are not worth your precious time.

As I mentioned, ideally, tasks have a priority when they reach your to-do list based upon the project or goal they are associated with.  When you initially add or begin planning for a project its priority should be assigned at that time.  This way, related tasks already have a priority when they filter down to your to-do list and it has you scheduling priorities instead of prioritizing your schedule.  Two very distinct things.  Scheduling your priorities will save you time and increase your productivity.

In my next post I’ll share information on using you daily to-do list.

Do you use a to-do list?  Do you compulsively make lists that you toy with every day, or make lists with tasks that you actually get done?  Do you create daily lists that are focused on accomplishing smaller pieces related to a big project?  Your list might be so frustrating that you might feel like getting rid of  it altogether.

If you are frustrated, chances are that you really do want to be able to cross more off your list but just don’t know how or can’t seem to get there.  It’s also possible that you have lists that include unimportant tasks or things that you don’t want to do, as well as the things that are important.

It’s one thing to have a daily to-do list, but quite another to use one effectively.  If you implement them in your daily practice, they can keep you from forgetting to do something important, keep you on track for meeting deadlines, and dispel the overwhelm conversation.

When you have and use a solid to-do list, you place yourself in a position of working much smarter, not harder.  When I say “solid” I mean that the list is complete and contains only important, prioritized tasks.  When you have a solid to-do list, you’ve got everything in one place and you know what order to work in. It also beats the feeling of being overloaded, keeps you focused, organized and productive.

To go from having a list that you toy over or would like to get rid of altogether, to having a solid to-do list, there’s a simple process.  First you have to create your to-do list.  If you already have a list that isn’t working for you, look at what you have right now and determine which items on it are important.  Move them to a new list and add things that you have to complete.  Of course, if there are larger tasks, break them down into smaller pieces.

Review what you have and be sure that everything on that list is important.  If something’s not important, it doesn’t belong on your list.  Ideally, what you have should be related to larger things that you’re seeking to accomplish.  As you review the list, look to see if there are things that you can delegate to someone else.  If so, remove them.  Once that’s done, divide the list into categories.  That will make it easier to use.  In my next post, I’ll discuss how to prioritize your tasks so that you know what order to work in.

Did you know that the third Monday of October is National Clean your Virtual Desktop Day ?  This year the day falls on October 17th.  It is estimated that there are one billion computers in use in the world today.  Think about what that means as far as virtual space.  People waste and clutter their virtual space just as much as they waste and clutter their office space.

Think about what’s on your desktop right now.  Do you have old folders and or documents that can either be archived or deleted?  Have you got unused icons just taking up space?  When was the last time that you cleaned up your computer?

If your computer needs to be decluttered, get started now.  Start by eliminating any unused icons on your desktop and remove any software that you don’t use.  It’s taking up space.  While you’re at it, delete old files that you no longer need.  If there are files that you need to keep, but don’t need to access on a regular basis, create an archive file on a CD and get them off of your hard drive.

Once you’re done cleaning up your hard drive, look at your email inbox.  How many emails do you have that you haven’t read?  Maybe it’s overloaded with newsletters or other items form lists that you’ve subscribed to, but you’re not reading them and it’s leaving your inbox cluttered.  Unsubscribe from the lists that are no longer relevant and set up filters and rules for the remaining emails to go to designated folders.  This way, you can set times to read what’s in those folders.  Be sure to delete them once you’ve read them.  Keep your inbox clutter free.

Once you’ve got things cleaned up, organize your remaining files as you would files in your filing cabinet.  Create folders and drop all related files into each.  This makes it much easier to find files when you need them and will save time in the process.  As you create new files, be in the habit of placing them in relevant folders. Additionally, if you’re not backing up your files on a regular basis, get that in place to be sure that you don’t loose the files that you need.

Keep up the practice and set regular times to delete unwanted items and archive files that you need to keep but don’t need immediate access to on a regular basis.  Doing so will keep your virtual space organized and clutter free.


If you’re one of my subscribers or a frequent reader, you’ve heard me say that time management is personal.  It really is all about you.  It’s about your personality, your prime time,  and choosing tools setting up a system based upon those things, rather than just choosing  things randomly.

This video will give you insight into how time management is personal and being able to navigate your way through your days, weeks and months more easily when you personalize managing your time.

Time Management is Personal

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