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The Perfect To-Do Item


Robby

Most people try to make lists of things to-do, but not all of us actually do them. What’s the best practice for putting something on your to-do list?

Verb-Subject: If you can, try to write every to do item as an action word followed by a specific noun. So instead of putting “report”, write out “Edit Petersen Report.”  That way, you know what you’re planning to do and can handle it more readily.

Start and Due Date: We’re used to the idea of deadlines, but tasks should also have a start date as well as a due date. If you don’t need to write that article for newsletter until the end of next month, set your start date to two weeks before the piece is actually due. That way, it won’t clutter up your to-do list for weeks when you don’t need to start on it any way.

Context: We can only do certain tasks in certain places and times. If you need to do some physical filing of papers on your desk, flag that item as the office. If you need to make a phone call, you can do that from anywhere but only during business hours. If a task requires your computer speakers and might distract other colleagues, then mark it off-hours. Create your own system for contexts based on your own job.

Use these three criteria and your to-dos will become more manageable. Best of all, you’ll actually get more of them done!  Tell us how this works for you.  Tell us how you tailored these ideas to your job.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Wed, April 20 2011 » Technology Tips, Time Management

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