Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting Important Things Done

A few weeks ago, I introduced a neat tool called iDoneThis. In that article, I describe it as, "a new web-based service [that] asks each night via email...'What'd you get done today?'...The purpose of the tool is to keep a record of your daily accomplishments. As a result, users should feel motivated to build on yesterday's successes and do even better today."

Looking back over my four submissions [yeah...I missed a few days], I could have finished more of the important things. Not that the few items I finished weren't good, it's just that I could have used that day to complete more meaningful tasks.

Clearly, some items that I finished were necessary. Tasks like cutting my son's hair, cleaning the house, and completing another episode of Room 3026 Live are important to-do items, but is that all I could have done with my day? The answer is "No!" I have a lot more to give.

If I have more to give, why didn't I do it? The answer, I believe, was caused by my lack of planning.

Each day, I had an opportunity to schedule tasks into my calendar. Using this time to pre-select important items from my to-do list would have allowed me to finish more important things.

Opportunities For Change
Moving forward, I need to consider changing some business practices. Below are a few ideas:

Plan ahead
Using a calendar, look ahead two weeks or more to determine important dates and upcoming deadlines. Are there things you can do to prepare for those events? If so, what? When I don't plan ahead, I find that I am often surprised by forgotten obligations.

Put to-do items into a time budget
Living a balanced life means making time for those areas that are important to you. For me, this means making time for God, family, school work, blogging, exercising, and the like. Most importantly, taking those pressing to-do items and placing them on the calendar. For more information on how to create a time budget, check out this article.

Schedule the most important things first
Earlier today, I read an article by Whitson Gordon entitled, "Learn the Difference Between Urgent and Important." The lesson I walked away with is that we need to take care of the important things first and then handle urgent (distractions) later. This process will ensure that we complete crucial things each and every day.

What ideas have you employed to get those most important things done in your life? Leave me a comment in the discussion section below.

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Photo by Valerie Everett


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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