I read a great book entitled Getting Things Done, by David Allen. What I liked most about this book … its center point was more than just time management.
This book focuses on capturing all the things that need to get done and disciplining yourself to make front-end decisions about what you let into your life so you have a plan for next actions. I definitely recommend it — yes it is a great read.
Below is a list of my top 5 favorite Tips for Getting Things Done.
1. Separate projects from tasks. This was one of the main things I gleaned from Getting Things Done. It’s not exactly what Allen prescribes, but it’s how I have adapted it to my life. I have two lists – one for projects, one for tasks. Most of my tasks have to do with client projects. I revise and print my client task list as needed. I also look at the project list several times a week to ensure that I have written down all tasks that move each of my clients’ projects forward.
I also put spur-of-the-moment stuff on my task list as well. So far, this has saved me tons of time and helped me to keep working on all priority level projects and tasks.
2. Learn the power of the verb. Now that my projects have their own list, every time I write something down on my task list, it begins with a verb — no matter what. I no longer have a daily task list filled with projects tasks such as “Communication Plan for ABX” or “Newsletter.” Now, I can easily navigate through my tasks because they are defined as: “Draft a Proposal for ABX Social Media Plan” and “Select Three Topics for this Month’s Newsletter Elevations™.” There is really something to using the ‘power of the verb’.
3. Use technology to manage tasks and projects, but don’t get distracted by it. Programs such as task manager in Microsoft Outlook are great, but don’t get so caught up in them that you spend more time using the programs than doing your actual work. Take the time to learn the programs and use the functions you really need.
4. Get your information at regularly scheduled times; don’t let it interrupt you. I keep instant messaging off, my e-mail is closed and I only take calls when I can be disturbed. As a Positioning and Visibility Expert, many of my clients expect to be called or e-mailed pretty quickly. So, I check my emails three times during my work day and respond accordingly.
5. Don’t seek out distractions to give your brain a “break.” The average worker waste at least two to three hours each workday and for most workers, much of that time is online. You may think that checking out what’s new with
Britney Spears or even if you try to keep it work related — checking the business section of CNN.com —- is it really important to know about the seven-year-old who heroically saved that kennel of dogs from drowning?
I hope that you have learned to keep your online reading habits in check. I think we all can gain more time each day if we could just eliminate those brain break distractions.
These are just a few of my 5 Tips for Getting Things Done. I have learned the importance of streamlining and organizing every aspect of my life. I believe that it is critical to stay focused on the big picture while managing the small details.
As a Positioning and Visibility Expert, I coach high-achieving woman entrepreneurs, executives and non-profit leaders on how to implement those strategies that bring more visibility and positioning more strategically in the marketplace for enhancing their career, business and life. Part of my coaching strategy includes organization. If there is a lack of organization and productivity there can not be effective positioning and visibility.
So my question to you: Do You Have a Plan for Getting Things Done?
© 2011 Dr. Laureen Wishom
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