Stick To Your “To-Do” List

Stick To Your “To-Do” List

In the world of wearable tech, with sophisticated apps streamlining our lives, I would like to share some practical advice that is essential to bear in mind given all the “helpful” distractions.

The basics of any job will never change. 20% of most people’s “to-do” lists will still deliver 80% of the results. It is a cliché, but you would struggle to find someone who wouldn’t agree with it.

So, rather than let your task list morph to a size where it is so big that it almost doesn’t matter what falls off it, maybe take a simpler approach to organizing your work?

Firstly, your “list” has to be achievable, and it has to be relevant. It is fine having a to-do list that extends into the next quarter, but why not sit down every week and note down what is absolutely business critical for you over the next 5-7 days? Taking stock for the next week on a Friday evening gives you the soothing feeling over the weekend that everything will be under control, and there will be no nightmares about “forgetting something.” This has been said many times before, but how many of us actually make the time to do it properly. We all want to go home on a Friday afternoon…. next week can wait, right?

Secondly, unexpected priorities do crop up. If a project drops onto your desk that puts the delivery of other less important items in doubt, delegate immediately, don’t wait until the last minute. Give the other person the maximum amount of time to complete the task.

The alternative reaction to additions to your “to-do list” is to push back. Saying “no” is a crucial part of time management, and if you feel that it would be better carried out by someone else, then say. If you are known as someone who will do any job going, that is what you will be given. Your colleagues may be perfectly pleasant, but they will send extra work your way if they know that it means less for them to do. Strike a balance with your availability and time.

It is so easy to get distracted by tasks from others that are non-critical, but also by your inner voice saying “ok, you can have 5 minutes on LinkedIn now.” As we all, know 5 minutes soon turns into 20 minutes and then it is soon lunchtime, so it isn’t worth starting anything new. Time is your enemy if you don’t have an understanding of how long each item on your “to-do list” will take to complete.

It all boils down to being an expert in doing the basics of your role. This is what will ensure that you hit your performance targets. This is the minimum that your management expect of you. If you can do the basics quickly and efficiently, aided by a focused “to-do list”, it will allow you to go the extra mile in the remaining time.

It goes without saying that you have to “shine” to be promoted, but without taking care of the basics first, it is highly unlikely that you will have time!

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