Implementing a Time Management System Pt. 1B

By Christina Suter on Apr 20, 2019 at 12:07 PM in Business Issues
Implementing a Time Management System Pt. 1B

Continuing on the blog post topic from last week, I want to discuss the implementation of a time management system. By now you know the step (and importance) of breaking your to-do list down into tasks and projects. You also know that your tasks should each have an action and an object. Each project on your list should have an implementable task with an action/verb and object/noun associated with it. As I finish a task I go back to the list under the project title and look at what I'm to do next. That pattern continues until the project is complete, and can then be removed from your to-do list.

Your day should look like you starting with clearing your inboxes, working on tasks, and then attending or doing your calendar, time-sensitive items. Tasks can have a lack of clarity which is why it's important to have an action for each object. If you need to, for example, hire a website designer, your first action may say, research + web. But when you open Google, what exactly are you researching? Your first step may be to look for web-designers in your city. What's the successful result you're looking for?

We are constantly having things asked of us. We have an inbox for our postal mail, e-mail, social media, text message, and voicemail. Take every little piece of paper, the mail, random socks or gloves, paint samples, whatever you have, and put it in a pile on your desk. Find a home for each piece until you're left with only the things you need in your daily work. Determine the action associated with every item you pick up. Ask yourself what it is, whether there's an action associated with it, and what is its next step, then either file it or throw it away. The goal is to clear all the small things out and either file or throw them away. 

A calendar filing system is one I've seen in David Allen and others share.  Something like theater tickets can live in my file that says "Theater Tickets" or by the month in which the show is scheduled. This is what is considered special files and calendar files. 

Electronic systems and paper systems should be broken down the same way. If an email requires a reply and I can reply quickly, I do so. If it's just an FYI email, I read it and then delete it. If the email needs a reply I can't provide at the moment, I reply with a confirmation of receipt and then I create a task for myself to reply to that email. The email gets moved into a file or folder in my email by either task or recipient.