4 Steps to Summit Your To-Do List

.... After a Long Weekend

Good memories of extra time off from work still linger. Yet, the triple digit messages blowing up your INBOX prove you’ve been away from your normal routine. Sure, you are rested and relaxed, but back at work the beat goes on.

After a vacation, long holiday or just a restful weekend, adopting these proven tactics getting back into high gear can make the transition a little easier.

“Minimize your movement and maximize your efficiency.

Plan more, move less.”

Kyle Connaughton

One of the best ways to hit the ground running at work is to clarify your priorities. Ideally, the day before or prior to everyone getting into the office, take some time to do a little productivity prep work. Studies have shown every minute invested in planning saves ten in execution.

COLLECT

Catalog everything in your life that requires some action or consideration on your part. This step is not about deciding where to put your attention, it’s about acknowledging what is pulling or pushing it. Do a data dump on everything in your mind: work, personal or both (depending on how wide and deep you want relief). List projects and tasks including those you need to do, want to do, should do, like to do, or are fun to do. You get the picture. This process of ‘collecting’, according to time management expert David Allen, author of Getting Things Done is that it frees up your brain’s random-access memory (RAM) to think more clearly and creatively for higher quality results.

CATEGORIZE

Not all tasks are created equal. Yet, our mind tends to trick us into thinking everything holds high completion or priority value. They don’t. We can see it when we step back and view tasks in relationship to each other filtered by our true priorities or our highest intentions.

A quick and easy way to categorize tasks is whom is responsible for completing the task:

  • Tasks I must do: these are projects that only you have the knowledge, skill, insight or background to complete. You must do these items yourself.
  • Tasks I don’t know how to do: completing these tasks would require a learning curve too time consuming to deliver an appropriate ROI. These typically are ‘one off’ tasks or require skills or knowledge that you simply don’t possess.
  • Tasks I should not do: Items that are either so mundane that the time and effort you’d expend completing them would rob from more important tasks. These projects could offer an excellent teaching or development opportunity for a member of your team. Delegating these tasks would strengthen or create new skills that would elevate the value employees bring to your company or department.
  • Tasks that should not be done: Every executive has activities and tasks that remain on our TODO List that if we were bold or brave enough, we’d admit we are never going to do them! These are items that would be ‘nice to do’ or tasks to tackle when we ‘have the time’—but they just don’t seem to rise in priority to ever take action on. So, you officially have the permission and my encouragement to cross these items off your list! They are draining valuable emotional energy that could be better directed elsewhere.

CLARIFY

Directing your attention to your Tasks I Must Do List, prioritize items listed and estimate the time each task will take to complete. This step will require you to consider your most critical tasks within the context and importance to the others on your list. Simplify your life by establishing priorities. Reduce or eliminate procrastination by ascribing estimated completion times. Download a FREE To-Do List Template.

CONNECT

Identify the energy required and importance of each task and plan to complete them based on your natural energy fluctuations throughout the workday or week. This is one of the most important, yet frequently missed elements of productivity planning and effective time management.

Assign High, Good, Moderate or Low Energy to Peak, High, Moderate or Low Effort Tasks. Download a FREE TO-DO List Template.This will allow you to best leverage your energy, attention to boost productivity by keeping you focused on the priorities that matter every day… not just the ones after time away.

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