Do it Tomorrow!

Time Management CourseMost of us don’t feel that we have enough time to get all of the important things done. To that end, we have read time management articles and books, anti-procrastination remedies and tried any number of success formulae. You may have also read some of the time management tips that we have shared in The Training Shelf Blog.

Well, here is another take on how to manage and take control of our time. Mark Forster has offered his ideas in his book, Do It Tomorrow . He says that most people make some form or fashion of a to-do list, and I believe that we can all agree with that. However, the real issue is that there is a difference between writing it down and doing it (or them).

Unfortunately, that’s not how it actually works. In reality, to-do items are often listed, but only some get done. Mark agrees that “Cherry picking” tasks this way is perfectly understandable. But, they tend to be those things that are easy or urgent.
Mark also says that, if you want to know how to make a list of your tasks and to feel the satisfaction of crossing them all off, try his system called, Do It Tomorrow.

To get started, create or buy a “task diary” allocating a page per day with adequate space for your non-routine tasks. Here are Mark’s recommended steps.

Step 1.
Whenever a project or task crops up that passes your personal ‘Worth Doing’ filter, write it down in your task diary under tomorrow’s date. For example, if today is Monday 5th, list any tasks that come in during the day on the page for Tuesday 6th.
Step 2.
If it’s genuinely same-day urgent (and, honestly, most things aren’t) add the task to your list for the same day. Using the above example, if that type of task appeared on Tuesday add it to Tuesday’s list. Don’t bother writing it down if it takes less time to do than to list.
Step 3.
At the end of each day, you’ll end up with a ‘closed’ list of things to do tomorrow. When you wake up on Tuesday, you’ll know you’ve only got to do Monday’s task during the day (plus any same day urgent tasks). If you want to know how to make a list of tasks, this is the most effective way to actually do everything.
Step 4.
Some tasks will get done in one go. Others may take a bit longer. If you don’t finish it, write it down again under the following day’s date and repeat until complete. The Golden Rule is to do something about every single thing on your task list for the day, even if it’s only for a few seconds.

What Next?

  1. Assume that you end Tuesday with a list of 11 things to do tomorrow. How do you decide what to do when you wake up on Wednesday?
  2. Estimate the available time you’ll have to do something about all 11 things during the day, and (here’s where we leave most time management advice) start with those that are most urgent.
  3. Why? Because everything on your list is important, otherwise why bother listing it? As long as you practice the Golden Rule, your list will be made up of fewer and fewer urgent tasks.
  4. Keep your task dairy somewhere you can see it and use it throughout the day. If you’re not a list-lover (or even if you are), develop the habit of using it. You’ll soon find you know how to make a list that actually gets done each and every day.

This system may be the one that is effective and helps you to organize your time and tasks.

Related Articles: Time Management … efficient or effective?  and  Stop Procrastinating … NOW!

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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