Chris Croft's Personal Blog

January 7, 2012

What shall I do next?

Filed under: Time Management — chriscroft @ 11:41 am

When sitting down at your desk and making this decision, which we all do maybe twenty times a day, maybe six thousand times a year, what is our thought process?
– Do the most fun
– Do the easiest
– Do the nearest (on the desk)
– Do the most urgent
All common I expect! Only the last one might be OK, but even that will lead to neglect of the things that are important but not urgent (planning, improving, developing etc).
This key moment, when collected over time, has a massive effect on what we achieve, where we end up in our lives. I would like to propose a process for getting the most out of your time by making the best possible decision each time you ask yourself “What shall I do next”
1 – Deal with any emergencies (should be rare)
2 – Write a jobs to do list for the day
(based on urgent things that have cropped up and a few important things that you’d like to get done – get ideas for this from your master list of everything you need to do – stuff gets added to this whenever it crops up)
3 – If it’s a big chunk of time ignore your jobs to do list and go to your master list, and tackle something big
(big chunks of time are rare and should not be wasted on a collection of small stuff. Otherwise the big things will never get done and they are usually the most important things of all)
4 – If it’s only a small chunk of time, reach for your jobs to do list and alternate urgent and important jobs.
(If you do all the urgent ones first you may not do anything important and so you won’t make any real progress today, and if you do all the important ones first you’ll get into trouble with other people).
5 – Finished your list? Now you can put your feet up / play / fritter ….

The ideas of size of time chunk, and alternating, are not intuitively obvious and might need some thinking about and some effort to implement. But I’m pretty sure they’re right.
PS – I’m working on a phone app which will do all the above for you automatically – you just press the button and it tells you the next five jobs, in the right order. Hurry up Mike-The-Software-Genius, the world awaits!

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