When people realize they need to get more organized in their life (whether work related or otherwise) one of the first things many do is make lists of “things to do”
Each day they create their “to do” list and then they start at the top of the list, do the first thing and then cross it off the list. They then proceed to the next item on the list. Inevitably, they don’t get everything done each day (simply because there is always more things to do than time to do them in) so some get put off till the next day or, they never get done.
While this method is much more effective than doing nothing, with just a little bit more thought, it can be done much more successfully.
First, create your “to do” list then create three more lists titled A, B and C. Put the most important things that need to be done in the A list, the things that aren’t as important in the B list and the least important things in the C list. Next, redo these three lists (either by creating three more lists or if you are using a white board, just erase and move around) by placing the most important in the A list on the top of the list, then the second most important next etc.
Once the lists are created, start by doing the things at the top of the A list and work your way down that list, then do the things at the top of the B list and when done with that list, do the things at the top of the C list.
By prioritizing in this way, it helps to make sure the most important things always get done and if something doesn’t get done, it will be the least important things.
It’s best to create these lists in a prominent place so that you can monitor the list on a regular basis. If the lists are scribbled on a sheet of paper on your desk, it’s easy to forget about them. However, if they are on a big white board on the wall for all to see, not only will it be an effective reminder to you but it will also let others see where you are with your lists. If you are a manager, it helps if you can walk by your employees desk and see what they are working on, what they have already accomplished and what they still need to get done.
This can be done in a relatively short period of time yet help make you much more organized.
I will admit that I occasionally cheat on these lists. If I have 15 projects on the three lists to do, and the first item on the A list takes half the day, I might look for one or two projects on all three lists that can be done quickly so that instead of being 4-5 hours into the day and only having accomplished one thing, I can knock those off quickly so I have done accomplished three things and will feel better about myself and then start on item 2 of the A list. It’s weird how I can successfully play mind games with myself in this way, know that I am doing it and it still works. The key is not to waste too much time on these smaller projects and get back on schedule quickly.
Prioritizing your projects will make you more efficient, more effective and allow you to accomplish a whole lot more.
Have a great day