First things first

Before you commence a task, ask yourself the following five questions:

  1. How urgent is it?
  2. How important is it?
  3. What result do I expect from doing it?
  4. What preparation is necessary before I start?
  5. Am I the right person to do it?

If the answer to question 5 is ‘No’, then decide who should do it, and delegate it.

If you are going to do it, and it is urgent, then you have no choice but to do it – within the deadline. You will simply need to book time in your diary to do it. Something else may have to be deferred.

If it is important, but not necessarily urgent, decide how much of your time should be invested. Striving for 100% perfection may be a laudable objective, but this could take you three times as long as to achieve 95%. Look upon your time as an investment and decide whether the return on your investment (the result) will be justified. You are asking yourself the question ‘Just how much of my time and effort is this task really worth?’

We all have some tasks which need to be done on a regular, routine basis, but others must be planned, scheduled and prioritised according to their urgency and importance. A useful discipline is to make, and maintain, a set of four ‘To Do’ lists as follows:

1. Tomorrow’s ‘To Do’ list

Made at the close of the previous day
You fully intend to do them all tomorrow.

2. Weekly ‘To Do’ list

Tasks for the week ahead
Some already scheduled

Others migrate to ‘Tomorrow’s’ list

3. Monthly ‘To Do’ list

Tasks that must be done this month
Some migrate to the ‘Weekly’ list

4. Long Term ‘To Do’ list

On going
Add and delete
Migrate to ‘Monthly’ or Weekly’ lists
Salami slices

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