Let me ask you, will you accomplish everything you need to do today? Are you able to get only a few things done that you need to get done and wonder where the time has gone? Or are you like a dog always chasing your tail going around and around in circles and getting nowhere?
If you are not getting everything done that you wish to get done, there is a set of skills that you can learn to help you. A skill is like a habit. Habit is formed when you do something often enough that it becomes second nature. To manage your time more effectively, you need to do these exercises every day for the next 3 weeks. Many experts say it normally takes 14 to 21 days to form a new habit.
1. List Daily Tasks
First, determine the tasks you must accomplish during the day. Take a clean sheet of paper and draw a line down the middle. On the left side of the paper, write down every task you need to accomplish. See my sample list below:
- Kids up ready for school
- Make lunches
- Get ready for work
- Work on project a
- Work on project b
- Call client a
- Call client b
- Meet with team
- Pick up dry cleaning
- Go to grocery store
- Read newspaper
- Mow grass
- Call friends to discuss the ball game
2. Apply ABCDE Test
Next, go down the list and apply the ABCDE test to each task and put the letter on the right side of the middle line.
- A Tasks that directly affect either work or family. These tasks are urgent and can only be done by you. There is no one that can do it better than you. These have the highest priority.
- B Tasks that can somewhat affect work or family but can wait. There is no urgency on getting this task done and are medium priority.
- C Tasks that are nice to do but have no immediate effect on work or family. These tasks can be postponed until there is more time to complete. These tasks are low priority.
- D Tasks that can be delegated to others. These tasks have no immediate effect on work or family. These are tasks that others can do equally as well as you or even better. These tasks are the lowest priority.
- E Tasks are “time wasters” and can affect both work and family.
3. Rank Tasks By Importance
Next, draw another line down the page on the right side of each letter. Now rank the A tasks by their importance along with a short phrase explaning its importance ranking . The A task with the highest priority is ranked as the A1 task. The next A Task is given the A2 Task. Continue ranking all A tasks to their level of importance.
After all A tasks are ranked, do the same with your B tasks, starting with B1 and continue until all the B tasks are ranked.
On each line of the D tasks, list the name of the person you can assign to do that task. Reassigning each D task to someone else allows you more time to work on your more important A and B tasks. You also must hold the person accountable to get the task done.
4. Work Down Priority List
You now have a working list of all the top tasks ranked by their importance and why – A1, A2, .. A6, B1, B2, … , B8, etc. Since the A1 task is of the highest importance, you must start on this task first and work on it until it is complete. Then you move to the A2 task and work till its complete. If you have scheduled your A and B Tasks correctly, you should have all high and medium priority tasks completed before the end of the day.
Once all A tasks and B tasks are complete, then you can start working on the C tasks. These are the medium to low priority tasks that you have scheduled.
The E tasks are useless such as reading the newspaper or calling friends on the phone about last night’s ballgame. These tasks are time wasters and can hurt your productivity getting you high priority tasks done.
5. Best time to create your task list.
You can create this task list the same day when you first get to work or you can create the task list the night before you go to bed. I personally like to do the night before, when I get up I have my day planned and I am ready to start the new day.
Next lesson will cover more on how to maximize time.