Today I wanted to think about the way I am managing my time, and my to do list.
I got a fancy new time planner which, aside from being very pretty, is a way of going back to pen and paper. So I thought I might give a new system a go with the following sections of my new planner:
Meeting notes. Actions marked with a *.
General ‘To Do’s’ from things people randomly ask me to do in the hallway, coffee queue, by the printer for which I will have no other way to record them aside from memory. Urgent items and those with specific deadlines are indicated with a #.
My weekly ‘to do’ ie the list of what I would like to achieve for that week. This should not exceed 15 items, because it’s unrealistic for me to try to schedule more than three priorities for a given day. Also – if someone has mentioned they want me to prepare something for them, I need to take ownership of it and schedule it in their diaries. If they need it this week, I can send them a meeting request the day they request the item, if they aren’t specific with time I can include it in the Friday Review.
Scheduled ‘to do’s’. This is time booked out in my outlook calendar, so I have made a commitment to getting it done and I can see whether other things are shifting them away out of time. Morning is the most productive time for me, while afternoons are great for meetings because by the time I have done some work in the morning I’m best placed to be creative and talk with people.
This is when I sit down with a cup of tea to do a status check and forward planning:
- Review week. Tick off completed items from ‘Weekly To Do’. Rename the list ‘Weekly Done’
- Review ‘General To Do’s’. Set up meetings if required. Assess priorities.
- Review Monthly Plan. If it is the first Friday of the month, also review the 3 monthly, 6 monthly and annual plan. Even if I don't have visibility of what the business requires in the coming year, I will have a clear idea of what I want to deliver, learn and achieve.
- Set up meetings if required for the coming week and month. Assess priorities by labelling them 1, 2 or 3. Cross out completed items.
- Move last week’s ‘not done’ and ‘priority 1 general to do’ list items to next week’s to do.
- Schedule in ‘to do’ work blocks for coming week.
- Complete timesheets.
So with December being a short month, I'll give this system a go for the next few weeks, and will do a wrap up of how it's been going just after 19th December.