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#155: How Do Things Even Get On Your "To-Do" List?

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Friday, October 16, 2009
Updated: Saturday, October 17, 2009
Is anyone else overwhelmed with client service, family, business development, community participation, practice management, sleep and carving out time for one's self? Sure, time management suggestions help, but how do I shrink the list?

Maybe the answer lies inside the question itself. We all have "to-do" lists that can get pretty large sometimes. The question may not be how to work faster and more efficiently to whittle down the list, but how to keep things from getting on the list in the first place.

Take a look at the list you have now. If you have multiple lists, lay them out in front of you, or consolidate them. Now consider each goal you have for yourself for the coming year or two (e.g., family, business, health, spiritual growth). Rank each list task by what goal it serves and whether this activity delivers long term or short term value. Finally, for each goal, check off the tasks that were not ones that you generated yourself. How many tasks made it onto your list as requests from others? Are these dominating your list, and are they more important than ones you have placed on your list?

Tip: It may be even more important to make sure we are not unnecessarily inviting things to go on the list. We often add to our lists because we have an idea for something we'd like to do or think we should do. However, we do not often enough take time to compare it to other items on our list or that could be on our list for a given goal. Both before adding tasks and frequently afterward, review your tasks by goal and reorder and allocate time relative to how effectively they will reach some goal. Be particularly ruthless about tasks imposed by others that really don't advance you toward your goals. It is OK to remove tasks that really don't belong there.

© 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  consulting lifestyle  guidance  planning  work-life balance  your consulting practice 

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