Making Your List Work for Youmelindahill | February 29, 2012
Where does time go? Do you ever feel like the more you do, the more there is to do and the list is never ending? In searching for some resources to help as our work environment has changed, I found some tips from John Maxwell, author of “Make Today Count”. He makes good arguments for planning and making changes that assist us in being more productive with less stress. If that sounds good to you, keep reading for a few tips that I’ve found helpful.
Maxwell suggests that the secret to success is your daily agenda. Each thing we do, prepares us for the next. The question is, what are you preparing for? Using our time wisely involves making decisions that move us forward towards our goal. I’ve always used a list, but sometimes it doesn’t always align with the daily/weekly/or long term goals. This was the first question I asked myself.
Our greatest possession is time. We can choose to spend it or others will spend it for us. He suggests three questions to ask: What is required of me? What gives me the greatest return? And what gives me the greatest reward? These will help to set our priorities. My work has requirements and they change often. The quick little things I can cross off the list give return but I had to ask myself, was it the best use of time? The time spent in preparation and presentation is my greatest reward, but it seemed these get slighted because of all the little things that rise to the top.
Learn what your strengths are and improve upon them. This is a process but when identified your productivity and potential greatly increase. This also means seeking others around you who are strong in the areas that you are not. I’m still learning my strengths and weaknesses, but I have a strong team around me to support as assist as we work towards the goals.
Delegate whenever possible. Build skills with others around you so that they can do the job better than you. This contributes to strong teamwork at the office, but think about how effective a family might be if everyone worked together? Delegation is an art. To ask someone to do something takes clear communication of expectations and then letting go to let them do the job. I’m working on this one.
When prioritizing the day’s activities, correlate them with your personal work peak. If you are a morning person, put the most important things at the top of the list. The challenge is not to let the little things (mail, e-mail, interruptions) take over the time and the day pass without getting to the important things. I know I work best in the morning, I’m most creative and energetic. That’s also the time when everyone else wants a piece of my time. Deadlines keep me on task, but this is an area I need to improve on not only the time management but how to work with others in respect to the overall goals.
Take a look at your to do list for today? How might these tips help to accomplish the list and promote your personal productivity? We know that if we keep doing the same things over and over, without progress, our outcome isn’t going to change. Change is a challenge, but pick out one thing above that might help with your work habits and give it a try. Identification of what’s not working so well is the first step in making changes that will help improve both quality and quantity at work and at home.
Melinda Hill, CFCS, CFLE OSU Extension Educator