Time Truth:  Task management is about capturing your priorities, sorting them into a tool you trust, and tracking them until they are completed.” – Julie Gray.

Welcome to the next post in the “Teacher as Student Series” where I share my new awareness with you regarding my learning when I was a student in the Holistic Time Coaching class taught by Julie Gray and Denslow Brown.  Even though I am a time strategy visionary and coach many wonderful, motivated, and curious professionals, I still have lots of room for learning!  If you haven’t yet, take a look at the rest of the series … I hope my journey helps you while you are on  your journey.

1. Teacher as Student

2. Is Your Own Cup Full?

3. How Do You Plan to Outsource?

Often we have a lengthy to-do list, with tons of tasks that we plod through until the end of the day. Then, we rewrite the list (or slide the tasks into the next day if we are using a digital tool) and start over the next morning.

[Tweet “Schedule time to move those “lost projects” forward.”]

Over and over and over again.

Are the tasks important?  Or are we just in “busy” mode?  Are we even aware enough to realize the difference?  Remember, just because a task is on your to-do list, doesn’t mean it is a priority!!!  (Check out this post for more on this topic.)

When we look at the time truth above, we realize that task management is about 3 separate concepts:

  • Capturing priorities
  • Sorting them into a tool you trust
  • Tracking them into completion

First, what do I mean by “capture”?  This looks different for different people.  Some people use sticky notes.  Others use scraps of paper, notebooks, calendars,  email, evernote, folders, Google Drive, Outlook, apps on the phone, your memory, excel . . . And many people use a combination of these.

I use a combination –  a red folder for long term project ideas, my calendar to track tasks that need to happen on a specific day, scrap paper that I use as a parking lot, and my email as reminder for some tasks.  This combination works perfectly for me when it comes to capturing the immediate tasks and reminders (parking lot, calendar, and email).  It also works well to capture long term ideas and goals. My breakdown was in the MIDDLE: how did I make sure I was moving forward on projects?

I have a “Project Folder” of ideas I want to complete sometime in the future.  Some projects I’ve identified as important for NOW – and each of those projects have their own folder with the actions broken down into small doable steps.  (Here’s one way to do this.)

But I didn’t have a system for making sure I was tracking projects into completion.  Now, let me be clear, I absolutely have a system for tracking projects into completion when they have a deadline.  It was the ones without a deadline …those I thought were important, had broken down into “small next steps” but never moved forward.

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So, what was my solution?

  • I identified one project without a deadline that I wanted to move forward.
  • Then, I took the first two small steps of that project and added them to my to-do list.
  • Finally I dedicated time in my calendar each week for one of these tasks.

My biggest realization was that I was getting caught up in the day-to-day priorities but had lost sight of some of the medium term projects.  Now, with a specific task in my weekly to-do list these projects continue to move forward.

Your turn . . . .how do you handle the tasks on your to-do list and follow through to completion?  Would you like some support in this process?

Check back next time for some strategies for Goal Setting and Project Planning.

(Steps image courtesy of Master isolated images)

With a little coaching, you can easily achieve the perfect balance between your business and personal lives. You can develop a framework and a system that allows you to put first things first -and live a life of purpose.

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