Boris (not his real name) a client of mine found that he was always behind. He was constantly responding to interruptions and getting off task. He was forgetting to follow up on requests, waking up at night with things he was supposed to do and didn't. He was trying to keep a list of all his activities in his rapidly failing memory bank.
One of the exercises most successful people do is to take ten minutes at the end of the work day to examine how their day went and to plan for the next day. They review what they did and what they didn’t do. They then look at tomorrow and see what is on their task list and what they need to carry over from their today's incomplete list. Having set their list of tasks they then put them in order of priority and tackle the most important ones first thing in the morning. Oh, one more thing, they make sure their priority tasks are linked to their overall goals.
This is a simple exercise but it works. It keeps us focused on the important and not on the urgent and ensures that we are marching toward our goals and objectives. It is not always easy to keep "on task" because of the numerous interruptions we have during the day, but having the task list in front of us will keep us on track.
What to do: Take ten minutes at the end of the day and look back. Complete the exercise described above and add some more ingredients like: Think about what good you did, what good you could’ve done and the things you could've avoided. Ask: Do I procrastinate on certain tasks? Why didn't I complete this task? Can I do it tomorrow? Is it a real priority? Did I serve an employee, colleague, or customer with a positive attitude? Can I do better tomorrow. Now look ahead and reset your priorities.
By the way when Boris began tracking and planning his activities he slept better, didn't need to be reminded about what he forgot, and actually produced more in a day with less stress
Want to learn more: Consider one of Priority Management's programs at: www.prioritymanagement.com ; read a good book on time management - I found David Allen's book "Getting Things Done" to be a good resource.
Revised from the Archives of Fontanie Learning Solutions.
Note: Image from Microsoft Clip Art