Monday, December 11, 2017

Efficient Action Lists: Your Effective Time Management Tool

make priorities clear using colour coding
Image: Make priorities clear using colour-coding ideas

This article, authored by Cory Popescu was first published on the blog of the Society of Internet Professionals (SIP). SIP is a not-for-profit, Toronto (Canada) based International organization to connect, learn and share. Our Vision is to provide the opportunity to leverage technology to have an inclusive future for everyone.  Since 1997, SIP has spearheaded many initiatives, educational programs, and networking events.

Every day we receive lots of tasks to do, and sometimes they have insane deadlines. Tasks stack up in plan lists, action lists in all our “extended” memory tools, such as computers, iPhones, electronic calendars and hard-copy agendas. In order to not get swamped by them, and to fulfill them successfully we need to organize them to bring us the most efficient results.

Structuring these lists in an organized way implies performing the following:

•    Synchronize all tasks lists.
If you have several lists, and they are not synchronized, it means that you would find tasks in a master list that are also part of another master list for the same objectives.
•    Define the priority for each task and create four different action lists reflecting the priorities for each task category, as per below.
  1. Priority #1 list contains tasks which are “important and urgent” and require immediate attention and completion.
  2. Priority #2 list contains tasks which are “urgent and not important”. You are compelled to work on these because they bear the “urgent” flag, however, if applicable and possible, you can delegate them to someone else. Nevertheless, they must be performed and completed immediately. Complete these tasks based on the order of priority and urgency.
  3. Priority #3 list contains tasks which are “important and not urgent”. These tasks can be postponed for a few days. Beware with this list because endless postponement leads to glitches in project development and completion and it may lead to failure of the entire project.
  4. Priority #4 list contains tasks which are “not important and not urgent” and which may be resolved in between the timing of other tasks or when you have spare time. These are the fittest to delegate.
•    Write all the tasks in your agenda and do NOT perform any task if it is not part of the list.
•    Combine performing tasks you like with tasks that you do not like. Start with one which you do not like and keep intertwining with pleasant tasks to keep your productivity up.
•    Define the best time to perform the tasks. For example, given that the task of prioritization into the four categories already took place, and there are priority #4 tasks to be done, it might be the best to perform them at the end of the working day when your attention is not the sharpest.
•    Keep an eye on the status of each task. Some tasks may “transform” status from “not urgent” to “urgent”. So, keep doing the tasks from all categories diligently not to find yourself in a time crisis.
•    When a new task appears, write it in your agenda and prioritize it with a deadline.

Prioritizing your tasks well gives you a good idea to start your projects efficiently.  Setting-up priorities and knowing how to combine the performance of different tasks will considerably reduce your stress levels and give you more control on the projects and on the management of all your resources to produce the desired results.

Cory Popescu

Your comments are welcomed

Click on the links below to read the other articles by Cory Popescu:
What are the Industries that Most Use Internet of Things?
The New Thought Process of Machine Learning 
Can IT Professionals Become Savvy Networkers?

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