How do you know what you’re going to do today? Do you have a ToDo list of some kind? A pile of stuff that sits there looking at you, growing every day, making you feel like you’re not getting anything done…
Now. To beat this, you need to rethink your to do list and get control of your inbox. And this comes down to TWO systems. You need a system to PLAN every day…
AND you need a system for handling new things that come to you DURING the day.
I’m going to give you a really simple system for dealing with the rush of things that constantly arrive in your inbox… So that you can take control, and create space to do the things that really matter.
OK… To START you need to ask THREE questions for EVERYTHING that comes up, whether it’s emails in your inbox, conversations in the corridor or on the shop floor, these three questions
- Is this so important that I need to drop everything and focus entirely on this right now?
- Can I delegate this to someone else?
- Can I deal with this in less than 2 minutes?
If the answer to any of these questions is YES, then that’s what you do.
If it’s SO important that it needs your attention now… do it. If there’s a fire, deal with it.
If you can delegate it to someone else, do it. Forward the email on to someone. Or give the person who asked you the question permission and authority to deal with the situation.
If you can sort things yourself in less than 2 minutes, just do it. Then and there.
But If the answer to these three questions is NO, it’s not crucial enough to drop everything, you can’t delegate it, and it’ll take more than two minutes to deal with… move the issue into a pile for TOMORROW.
I know it’s traditional to say “never put off until tomorrow something you can get done today”.
But if you want to rethink your todo list and get control of your inbox, you NEED to put off till tomorrow as much INCOMING STUFF as you can, so you can focus on what you PLANNED to do today.
How do you “reserve things for tomorrow”?
If we’re talking about conversations with people, or if you work best on paper… Keep a day to a page diary. And anything you need to reserve until tomorrow, write it on the relevant page in your diary. So you’re ORGANISING your to-do list into daily blocks.
If you work on email it’s easier. Just create an ACTION folder off of your inbox. Anything you want to reserve until tomorrow, throw into that folder, and then your email system adds the days for you, right? EVERYTHING ELSE… archive. The stuff you deal with quickly. The stuff you delegate away by forwarding it on. And the stuff you read and don’t need to do anything with. Just archive it.
And that’s your first system. Three questions and a folder or diary is all you need to handle the waves of stuff that come at you every day. Dealing with the crucial things and the quick things. Delegating what you can. And reserving everything else until tomorrow.
And then… When you plan your tomorrow… You include time to work through those items you’ve reserved. So now you need your second system… To PLAN every day… and for that… You need a daily checklist. You could read my previous post or just…
Grab the checklist by hitting the button below.