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Task management

Better Task Management: Making heads or tails

The only thing that will get you out of your own personal hamster wheel is to change the way you view time and the activities and tasks in which you invest time. Notice I use the term invest instead of spend—you should expect to see a return-on-investment rather than just the liability of an expense. Without wasting any more time (pun intended), try one or more of the following techniques: 

  • Have a to-do list. Update it every day at the same time. After revising your list, assign each item a letter: A, B or C. “A” items are both important and timely. “B” items are either important but not urgent or urgent but not that important. “C” items are nice to-dos if time permits. Look at your list often throughout the day. Avoid doing a bunch of Cs because they are easy to do and don’t take much time. Opt for a solid A whenever you can. Fifteen minutes on an A task has got to be worth more in the long run than 15 minutes on petty C. 
  • Determine the best use of your time at any given point in time. Consider this especially after an interruption or unexpected phone call. On the days you spend more time by working on an A or B item on your list, chances are you’ll end the day feeling more accomplished and satisfied.
  • Determine the time wasters in your life. Don’t hesitate to put down a person’s name as a time waster. Of course, be discreet if that person may stumble upon that list. Do what you can to avoid, eliminate or severely curtail engaging in time-wasting activities—such as checking your personal email account or reading blogs, Facebook posts or tweets while at work, to name a few.
  • Set SMART goals—that is specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound goals—in the important aspects of your life. This includes your physical health and mental well-being, professional growth, financial stability/security, spirituality, and family life, to name a few. Determine how to spend more time on the tasks and people that produce the life you desire.

—Vince DiCecco, Your Personal Business Trainer