Tag Archives for " prioritization "

Your Recipe for Task Management Rainbow Cake

It is crucial to having work-life balance to have a handle on what needs to happen when. More specifically: which of our tasks should be done now, and which can be done later – if at all. Below is the task management system I use when I feel that I have lots going on and I am in danger of going into overwhelm. Below is a simple recipe I use to avoid overwhelm and make task management a doddle!

layered cake

Ingredients:

1 List as long as your arm

1 Notepad

1 Thinking cap (or turban in my case)

1 cup of tea

Multi-coloured Pens/highlighters to taste

Method:

First and foremost, grab yourself a cup of tea. As I’m British, this is a requirement. I already have my Earl Grey, therefore I will wait.

If you haven’t already, create a list of all tasks you need to complete. These could be all related to one area or multiple areas of your life or multiple projects.

These tasks now need to be divided up into categories – or layers as follows:

  • Red Layer: ‘A’ tasks
  • Orange Layer: ‘B’ tasks
  • Yellow Layer: ‘C’ tasks
  • Green Layer: ‘D’ tasks
  • Blue Layer: ‘E’ tasks

Let’s explore these a little more and define what goes into each section. Feel free to use some highlighters or coloured pens to mark up your list.

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‘A’ Tasks

‘A’ tasks are tasks that you Absolutely Must do right away. These tasks cannot wait another few days or a week. Go through your list and put an A next to each of the tasks which fall into this category.

‘B’ Tasks

‘B’ tasks are those which are Best to do soon, such as within the next day or two. These tasks won’t ruin your day if you don’t get them done, however they cannot be left for long before they become ‘A’ tasks.

‘C’ Tasks

‘C’ tasks are those which you can Choose to do now or leave to later. Typically you need to do these from 2-5+ days from now, but you do need them done.

‘D’ Tasks

Tasks which fall into this category are those which much be Delegated. They need to be done, but it doesn’t need to be YOU who does them. You may also notice as you go through some of your other tasks, that some of these – although being both important and urgent, can be delegated. In this case, they become ‘BD’ or ‘CD’ tasks etc.

‘E’ Tasks

This is my favourite layer as it involves tasks which you can Eliminate. These tasks are a distraction from what is important right now. They are of low importance, and if you spend time doing these, you’re taking time away from doing you’re A-C tasks.

Reviewing your ‘big list’ of tasks should be done weekly, although you will probably review it throughout the week as you will hopefully be referring to it rather often.

Hold the Oven!

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“But CJ, what if I have too many ‘A’ tasks? Which one do I do first?” I hear you ask! Very good question and thank you for asking. You win the prize for best question asked all blog post. Here’s where our old friend Pareto comes in to help us sort the wheat from the chaff. The Pareto Principle, also known as the 80/20 rule, comes into play here to help you decide which task should be first. Decide by looking through your ‘A’ tasks, which one would have the biggest impact on your goal right now. Mark this task A1. Ask yourself the same question again, excluding that first one. This next one becomes A2, and so on…

Now you have a nice layered list of tasks. You may well write them out again in the new order you have placed them in.

The Icing on the Cake

Here’s some icing for your layered cake. You can speed up this whole process by using an app which I thoroughly recommend and use for all my to-do lists (among other things) – and that’s Evernote.

Evernote is one of my favourite productivity tools and it can synchronise across all your devices.

I’d love to hear from you and know now your Task Management Cake turned out! And if you’re still having trouble juggling all the hats, call me now on 07988630004 and get your time back once and for all!

June 1, 2015

The Power Of Focus

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Most people recognise that they cannot do to many things at once. Any time we try to achieve many goals all at once, we find that we spread ourselves too thinly.

For example, if I take any one of my major goals, to lose weight and get fit, I find that I have many tasks that I need to do to achieve that goal. Some of those are high priority tasks which need to be done right to help achieve my goal. I have many other separate goals (as well as some goals which link into one another, you know what I mean) and each of these has major tasks which I must complete. Can you imagine how trying to achieve all these goals by doing all these tasks at once might result in overwhelm?

In fact it’s been proven that you can’t really do any two meaningful tasks at the same time. For example, if you’re trying to read a book or listen to the radio, you’re not actually fully attentive to the book, neither to the radio. Your mind is actually flicking between the two at a very fast rate. This is why sometimes you hear something interesting on the radio, and you then find you have to go back and read that paragraph on your book over again.

Instead, I would recommend that you focus on one goal and one activity at a time. If you’re going to read, some soft music which is not going to be a distraction would be ideal.

If you do focus on the most effective task which will yield the biggest results, you may find that you don’t try to do too many things at once. You may even find that by focusing on just the most effective tasks, you can make time for one or 2 extra actions per day which help you towards the other goals. But by not doing only these highly effective tasks, you will feel that emotion of overwhelm and will find out you burn-out quickly and often.

To your Success,

CJ Sohal