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I do like tools and ways to optimise time and get as much done as I can. I am an organiser of myself and others, so when I come across another set of hint or tip, it makes me happy.
Unfortunately, I can’t seem to find much that is new or really adds to the 3 versions on a theme of:
The Ivy Lee Method; Stephen Covey’s 7 habits of highly effective people; David Allen’s Getting Things Done
So can’t take any credit for the productivity tips that I write about in this blog as these ideas were detailed already and they still work today.
I have personalised them a little, but that is just the way I like to work myself, but I think we need to be reminded that you can get things done by creating simple habits that stand the test of time and that can vanquish the procrastination monster a lot of the time.
So the Ivy Lee Method states that the simplest way to work is to create a list of all the things you need to do and order it in priority order. Each day take the top 6 tasks and get them done. At the end of the day check your list, prioritise and take the next 6 to be done for the following day. This allows you to review the day and assess if you did well or not with your tasks. The added benefit of this way is that it means you take control of your day and workload, not react to others’ requests of your time.
I adjust this one slightly to say that you should limit your list to 3 items. This would depend on how big the tasks are and what other responsibilities/tasks you have on your list. You can personalise it to cater for your needs. The main part of this is that you need to ensure that your list is not too long that you cannot fit any reactive work that comes across your plate.
Steven Covey adds to this by taking your whole to do list and allocate diary time to everything you need to do. This means that you schedule the tasks in and give them the right amount of time so that they are more likely to be completed. This additional step means that you will find the task will likely take as long as you allocated to it. If you overestimated, that means the task likely took longer than you needed (great for wellbeing), if underestimated, it could send the rest of your schedule out, making you late or forgetful.
Getting things done by Allen adds to this in a slightly different way, by promoting the use of touch once and if it will only take 2 minutes deal with it immediately. This is great for people in more reactive style business or for those that don’t have a list of tasks that need to get done specifically.
I recommend that you read all 3 books to determine what works better for you. As someone who has an inbox zero style with a calendar filled with planned tasks, some people think I am mad, but I have managed to persuade some of the most disorganised people to adopt even small changes that have helped them get things done and increase their productivity.
In the end, you can have as many lists as you like, but if you don’t complete the tasks on them, all you have is lots of lists.
Previously posted on Medium.
In the simplest terms, I help people to get ready to profitably scale. What you do with a room full of people is very different to how you do it when they cross cities, continents or oceans.
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