Daily Priority List Building – Time
by John Wilkinson
A key to any successful time management schedule is
creating a task list. Identifying the vital tasks that need
to be achieved in the coming week for example. The
next 5 working days may have 20 prioritised goals to
meet target. This is the weeks agenda, but to
accomplish every aspect it is a good idea to further
break the list into an sub list based on a day by day
basis usual y placing emphasis on the most important
first, and on which day they must by completed by. This
'smal steps' approach breaks down the possible mental
burden of remembering those little aspects of a huge
project and helps eliminate those 'oh, I mustn't forget to
do that' moments. It also reduces the stress as every step is laid out in manageable series
of action points that have a feel good factor as increasingly they are ticked off the list. The
smal steps taken throughout the day culminate to become a far more sizeable step by the
end of the day. The steps are as fol ows....
Generating the master list.
For that given day write down everything you need to get done. Don't concentrate on
levels of importance just yet, just concentrate on getting everything on paper. Include
everything you can think of associated with the task getting it out of your mind and into
written form. It doesn't matter how many items you include as it is better to have them laid
out before you so ignore the number even if you are going above say 50 items as this is
just the transcribing part of the list building exercise. Remember to include as much as
possible including the little things like checking your email.
Prioritising the items.
The trick to assigning high importance to items on the list is to think about the
consequences of not getting those things done and how significant those consequences
will be. This will focus your mind on levels of urgency... 'if I don't achieve this today what
will be the ramifications.' Those items with the biggest consequences will now be placed
into your A-list, a presentation to the board of directors will be included on the A-list,
ordering that new sexy flat screen monitor because you real y like the look of it won't.
Now review the non A-list index and sort out those tasks that will have a mild impact if not
completed on that given day. These will become your B-list items. As you may have rightly
guessed we now move onto the C-list, this will include anything that will not bite us back if
not achieved today. Below this comes the D-list where D stands for delegate, those jobs
that do not need your personal input but can be done by somebody else. If you are stil left
with items not al ocated these should be of very little importance and can be either
classified as extras if any time is left, ie E-list, or can have a line drawn through them.
Setting the order.
The list will now have A's, B's etc in a disjointed fashion, at least they are when I do it. I like
to work from top to bottom and as such like my lists to run in the same order. So, we need
to define a level of importance within our alphabetized mini-lists, if this is difficult take two
at a time and play them off of each other to see which 'wins.' The most important item will
be given the number 1 for example in our A-list the order would be A-1, A-2, A-3, A-4, etc.
Now for clarity I would suggest transcribing these, in order, to a new sheet with obviously
the highest first running from A to D (and E if you are including it.) You should now have a
complete and purposeful list, if you feel there is too much to achieve in one day consider
whether anything can be moved over to that D-list.
© 2010 John Wilkinson