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Hi all! As many of you know, a time management tactic that is invaluable to me is my list notebook. I won’t go into detail about it here because if you click on that link you can read all about how this brain dumping technique works for me.
Today though I want to concentrate on the step that comes after all that brain dumping. I take a look at that extensive notebook and I ask myself “out of all these tasks which ones are my top three priorities that must get done today?”. Making a decision of what top three things I MUST do helps me focus and stay on task when I am tempted to be distracted with all the other things that must get done on my list. Anything over three would simply overwhelm me, making it difficult to get anything accomplished. Three always seems like a nice manageable number to me.
However that doesn’t mean those are the only things I do in a day, they are just the top three “if nothing else gets done before my head hits the pillow, I can still be proud of myself” tasks.
During the day though as I conquer my top three, I go back to my list and select another three as time permits. Actually accomplishing something, as opposed to doing parts of many to-dos, is very motivating and I find I get more done this way knowing that at any given time I have no more than three tasks directly in front of me. Once each batch is completed I’m encouraged to select a few more :)
Of course you need to select your top three to-dos reasonably. Don’t go crazy thinking you have all the time in the world. In other words, don’t set yourself up for failure.
The following is an excerpt from my book:
While I think it’s a great idea to have a running list of all the tasks needed to be completed, I also know it can be so easy for our day to get away from us and feel like nothing was accomplished. That’s why I always recommend taking a couple of minutes each morning to select, from your notebook list, your top three to-dos for the day. Concentrate on those three things first and determine to get them done. That way, no matter what else happens during the day, you can go to bed at night knowing that you hit your target and can feel good about what you’ve accomplished.
What have you got to lose? Give it a try for a couple of weeks and see if it makes a difference to your day? Let me know!
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