“I know there was something I had to do today… What was it?”

Why not save yourself the time and effort of constantly asking that question and get into the habit of writing a Daily Action List. Start off by purchasing a spiral notepad. Spiral notebooks are great because they keep your information all together. There’s no loose bits of paper flying around and you can always refer back to your previous lists if you need to.

Write up your list after you arrive at work in the morning and use the power of Triage to prioritise your work. If you’re not familiar with Triage, it’s a battlefield term, referring to the sorting and allocating of medical treatment, food and aid on a needs basis.

How do you decide? Use the A, B, C, D, E framework

A=Action it now
Place an ‘A’ next to any tasks that need to be done today. These are the keepers - the things you’ll do first. Considering the Pareto Principle they are most likely the 20% of your tasks that will produce 80% of your results.

B= Better do It
These are the tasks you need to look at more closely. If you’re not sure you need to do them there’s a very good chance that these tasks are not urgent. You better do these tasks, but only after you have completed your ‘A’ tasks. Your ‘B’ items may become tomorrow’s ‘A’ items - so you’ll need to spend sometime looking at them before you can decide if that’s the case.

C= Could do it
Mark with a ‘C’ anything you could do if you get time. These are the tasks that may become ‘A’s later down the track, but for today and tomorrow they are low priority.

In the short term, these are the 80% of things that will give you just 20% of your results. The ‘C’s will probably make up on the most tasks on your list - and will be the things you are tempted to get started on straight away. Don’t! These tasks are easy and quick, but remember that they are not urgent and are low-value work.

D= Delegate it
‘D’ is for delegate. If you are a manager or supervisor ‘D’ should become your favourite letter of the alphabet! As much as possible try and delegate all low-value work. Yes, in the short term it’s probably quicker to do it by yourself, but training other people is a much better idea in the long run.

E= Eliminate it
Any tasks that are taken care of by someone else or are just no longer necessary should be labelled ‘E’ and crossed off your list immediately.

You get all the satisfaction of drawing a big red line through it and without having to do it yourself. Watching your list get shorter as your day goes on will give you a great sense of accomplishment.

To learn more about managing your time and priorities, visit www.success.net.au or go to www.paulpuckridge.com

Author's Bio: 

Paul is an author, teacher and speaker on leadership, innovation and worksmarts. He is the Training Director of The Success Institute - Australia and for the past 15 years has written over 30 professional development programs, 10 books and other career development material.