My important item #3 for the day
I keep my to-do list in a journal with different categories. My to-do list has at least 20 important items on it at all times. Some of these items relate to honey-do’s or family planning at home; some to work; some to my volunteer activities and some about taking care of me. Some of these items are long-term (this quarter, some short-term (this week), but most are mid-term (this month). Most are important and few are urgent.
While it would be wonderful to knock out the 20 items from my to-do list. It won’t happen today. It didn’t happen yesterday and it won’t happen tomorrow. I am better off just to go for just above average–4-5 items each day. That’t the reality of my productivity relative to the to-do list. I may get more done, but I only get to cross out 3-4 important things a day. I don’t try to one important item from each category of my life (like Covey’s saw-sharpening), but I should try that more. My work for the day tends to be focused on one bucket of my life or another. This strategy keeps me from doing too much multitasking.
I try to keep my to-do list full of important things rather than urgent ones. I have an urgent to-do list, but it is not in my planner. Urgent items (those things that I panic about in the shower or that my boss requests right now) are on a tablet. The urgent things are small and usually take little time. The important part is having the urgent items in one place so that they can be knocked off in one sitting or they can be squeezed in between other activities. The tablet sheet is thrown out at the end of the day. Not keeping my urgent list in the planner does mean that I sometimes have trouble justifying where my time went, but I try to block a time for “urgent matters” and not worry about what those urgent matters are. Its important to have scheduled time for urgent matters.