Time management is a key challenge for all owner managers. If you don’t have time to do the things that have the biggest impact, you have to create time by taking control of your choices. The idea behind a ‘To Don’t list’ is that you can choose NOT to do certain things, at least not today.
Step1. Start by listing and prioritising all tasks in the following order:
- Urgent and Important
- Urgent and Not Important
- Not Urgent but Important
- Not Urgent and Not important
If you don’t prioritize you will regularly fail to execute and will be subject to the tyranny of the urgent – urgent will always take precedence regardless of importance. When prioritizing focus on the ‘What’. You can figure out the ‘How’ later.
Step 2. Consider who should do each task. A common problem with time management is the DIY syndrome:
– Are you doing things that are below your pay grade? Are you failing to delegate?
– Are there tasks that you could usefully outsource?
– Are you tolerating unacceptable behaviors from others? Are you accepting problems that others should own?
Step 3. Having prioritized and determined what should and should not be on your list, it is time to identify what doesn’t belong in your day, and put these on your ‘To don’t list”. Then put this in a drawer and forget about it until your end of day review. This will clear your mind to identify and focus on your To Do list – the 3/4 key tasks that must be completed by the end of the day, plus some others time permitting.
Step 4. Complete an end of day review. This allows you to identify the tasks that you will deal with on the next day, and go home with a clear head at close of business!
Remember – you need to have the discipline to set aside time to write up your To DO and To Don’t lists, but there are big emotional and practical rewards for those who are struggling to manage their time.