Getting Things Done by David Allen

Book of the Month – July 2014

Title and Author:  Getting Things Done by David Allen

Subtitle: The Art of Stress-Free Living

Synopsis of Content:

This book is about how to organize everything you work with: every document, email, and every other item in your home or business office and how to manage these things along with your projects and tasks in the most effective manner.

The table of contents provides an excellent overview of the book:

  • The Art of Getting Things Done
  • Getting Control of Your Life – the 5 stages of mastering workflow
  • The 5 phases of project planning
  • Practicing Stress-Free Productivity
  • Setting up the time, space and tools
  • Corralling Your Stuff
  • Processing: getting “in” to empty
  • Organizing: setting up the right buckets
  • Reviewing: keeping your system functional
  • Doing: making the best action choices
  • Getting projects under control
  • The Power of Key Principles
  • The Power of the Collection Habit
  • The Power of the Next Action Decision
  • The Power of Outcome Focusing

Allen’s system is based on some basic principles:

  1. Anything that must be done in the future clutters your mind and distracts you unless you can get it out of your mind. He maintains that as long as it is on some list your mind will dwell on it. Put it on a list and you can forget it. So he recommends putting everything – and I mean everything – on a list to be scheduled or worked on later. This applies to your next medical exam, replacing the batteries in your flashlight and the next big project at work. This will empty your mind of the “to-do” list and free it to relax and do more important work.
  1. Maintain a minimum number of lists. Too many lists and they will be unmanageable, too few and they will also be unmanageable. He provides guidelines for how many is ideal.
  1. Lists must be reviewed regularly and at least weekly. If a list is not managed it gets out of control.
  1. As you go through things on your desk or in your email in-box follow this simple rule: If it can be done in two minutes or less, do it. If it will take more than two minutes file it and either schedule it, drop it or delegate it. The goal is to maintain a clean desk and empty in box.

The mechanism you use to keep your lists and manage them is not important. Whether it is paper or electronic he urges you to use the one you are most comfortable with.

What I found useful about this book:

Allen’s book is truly one of the best time management books I’ve read. It is full of great ideas and his systems work – I know as I’ve used them. If you set up the system he advises and manage it regularly you do get control over your tasks and time. The trick is to follow the steps and manage the system regularly.

What I did not like about this book:

Allen short sells the discipline it takes to follow the collection habit he describes. This takes some real effort. The payoff is worth the effort. However Allen soft sells the effort required to some extent.

Also Allen fails to address a real problem some people have: some people simply have too much to do. No matter how it is organized it is simply more than one can get to. A chapter on how to deal with this problem would be helpful.

Readability/Writing Quality:  

Getting Things Done is very readable and easy to follow. It is well organized and provides clear steps to follow.

Notes on Author:

David Allen is an author, consultant, coach and keynote speaker. He advises some of the world’s largest businesses.

Other Books by This Author:

Getting Things Done – The Art of Stress Free Productivity – 2002

Getting Things Done – C Pbp – 2008

Getting Things Done – B – 2012

Related Website:

http://gettingthingsdone.com/

Three Great Ideas You Can Use:

  1. You must get organized to be productive and reduce stress. This means getting everything organized from your desk top to your computer. It means getting all your tasks on a list so your mind is not mired in keeping track.
  1. Practice a simple formula for organizing what needs to be done: if it takes 2 minutes or less do it; if it takes more than two minutes either schedule it, dump it, file it or delegate it.
  1. Lists must be actively managed at least weekly. Develop this discipline to keep on top of things and free your mind for creative thinking and work.

Publication Information:  

Title and Author: Getting Things Done by David Allen

Copyright holder: ©2001 David Allen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Information Overload – Learn How to Manage It All

Forbes.com featured an article with 10 Steps to conquer information over load. The article was written by Laura Shin. She points to the many sources of this over load, even the grocery store. ““In 1976, there were 9,000 products in the average grocery store, and now it’s ballooned to 40,000 products. And yet most of us can get almost all our shopping done in just 150 items, so you’re having to ignore tens of thousands of times every time you go shopping,” he says””. The “he” she is quoting is Daniel Levitin, McGill University psychology professor and author of The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.

She notes that by one calculation we have created more information in the last ten years than I all of human history before that. The average American receives five times more information every day than they did in 1986.

Here are Levitin’s ten steps to getting control of it all:

  1. Do a brain dump

Follow the advice of productivity “guru” David Allen in his book Getting Things Done and get stuff out of your brain. As important information comes to you write it down immediately, this allows you to let go of that information in your mind. Allen then provides a serious of steps for how to organize and use that information.

  1. Follow the Two-Minute Rule

If a task can be done in two minutes or less get it done now. If it cannot be done in two minutes put it on a to-do list and do it when you have time.

  1. Clump together similar tasks

For example, return phone calls all at one time. Pay all the bills due at the same time. Complete one set of tasks before moving on to others. Resist distractions from this.

  1. Do not multitask

Research shows we do not perform well when multitasking. Focus on one task at a time. Eliminate distractions from that task.

  1. Limit email distractions.

Turn off audible signals that you have new email. Set aside certain times in your day to review and respond to email. If you need to turn email off the rest of the time.

  1. “Eat the frog” first thing in the morning.

Follow the advice of movie producer Jake Edwards and success expert Brian Tracy to “eat the frog” first thing in the day. That is, take on your most difficult or unpleasant task first thing in the morning, get it done and move on.

  1. Spend only as much time on decisions and tasks as they need.

Sometimes we devote more time to a decision or task then it really needs. It is better to assess how important the decision or task is and how easily it can be efficiently dealt with. For example Levitin says if you think you need to keep five year old bills and receipts just throw them in a box in case you need them, do not spend hours organizing something you’ll likely never need.

  1. Take breaks.

Taking a 15 minute break every couple of hours can make you more efficient and effective. Listening to music, taking a walk or even a short nap can recharge you and make you more effective.

  1. Daydream now and then.

Levitin says, “The brain operates in two oppositional modes: “one is when you’re directing the thoughts, and the other is when the thoughts take over and run themselves,” says Levitin. Directing mode is the one that allows us to get our work done, whether we’re an office worker, chef or tile layer, but our minds can’t stay in one gear all day long.

In daydreaming mode, says Levitin, “one thought melds into another and they’re not particularly related.” This daydreaming mode acts as a neural reset button and replenishes some of the glucose you use up in staying on a task.”

  1. Push against authority.

By this Levitin means to give workers in an organization as much autonomy as possible because people are happier and more productive if they have some autonomy.

This is a great list of ways to maintain focus, limit distractions and improve your effectiveness. Limiting information over load is about controlling how much information you are exposed to so as not to overwhelm yourself. I add these ideas as well:

  1. Limit internet use.

The internet is a great resource and you can learn a great deal from its content. You can also get mired in too much information. Turn off notifications from social media and other sources that will interrupt you and usually with information of little value. If you decide to “surf the web” set a time limit and avoid doing it throughout the day.

  1. Be selective about what you read.

With e-readers, internet content, magazines and books there is an endless source of information to read. The problem is that if you do not limit your reading you can be overwhelmed with information. You will not retain it, analyze it or make use of it.

The bottom line is that you must control how much information you read or listen to. Use what is truly useful to you or truly inspiring to you. Be aware of how well you are understanding and retaining what you read, see and hear. Our ability to take in and process information is limited. You must be discerning about it.

Learn how to manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management. Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

You Must Have a Plan

From The Success Essentials

“Plans are Nothing; Planning is Everything” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Proper planning is essential to success. Once you have clearly identified what your goals are it is important to carefully plan how you will achieve them. Many people skip this step in their excitement to pursue their goals. Failure to plan adequately however will lead to failure and disappointment. Repeated disappointment can suck your enthusiasm dry and lead you to abandon your goals.

It is true that no matter how carefully we lay out our plans reality will require us to change course during their implementation. Often the final path to success is quite different than we originally planned. This does not mean however that the planning process is not useful. To the contrary, the process of planning prepares you to take the steps necessary to realize your goals and aspirations.

An Example of How Planning Leads to Success

General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the primary architect of the invasion of Europe during WWII said, “Plans are nothing, planning is everything”. Eisenhower and his allied staff spent thousands of hours planning every detail of the invasion of Europe during WWII. Their task was unimaginably formidable.

To understand how difficult this challenge was for Eisenhower and his staff it is necessary to review a few facts about that challenge. The Nazi war machine was at that time the most powerful and successful military force in the world. It had conquered nearly all of Western Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe, much of the Mediterranean, much of North Africa and much of the Middle East. Its armies were threatening to conquer the Soviet Union and take control over its European and Asian territories.

The Germans had years to fortify their control over France, the Low Countries and much of the rest of Europe. Millions of mines had been laid on land and at sea. German U-boats had made the oceans treacherous. Its air force was formidable. And the Germans were pioneering new forms of war technology including radar, rockets, and were even working on the atom bomb.

The allies had a small window of time to strike at the German empire and win before it attained greater strength and hegemony.

While the allied forces were also formidable they had the giant task of assaulting the beaches of France and invading a land occupied by this powerful enemy. Furthermore, this had to be accomplished by an alliance of multiple armies, navies and air forces working together. Some of these nations had been adversaries among themselves. To make matters worse, many of the allied commanding officers possessed strong egos, wanted to claim credit for the victories to come, and distrusted one another.  This was the task that lay before Eisenhower and his staff.

You know the outcome of course, and you know that the war did not go exactly according to plan. Many things went wrong. Many plans had to be changed. However in the end the allies won and destroyed the Nazi war machine. Eisenhower understood the importance of planning not because he thought his plans would be followed in every detail, but because he understood that by careful planning his armies would be prepared to respond to what the enemy threw at them.

Planning alone did not win WWII. Planning alone does not win any war or achieve any success. It takes courage, resources, coordination and persistence. But planning is the crucial first step.

Learn more about how you can achieve more and realize your goals in my book, The Success Essentials.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

My New Year’s Gift to You

Happy New Year!

It is a brand-new year. This is a great time to take stock of where you are and where you are headed. You might want to spend a little time today thinking about that.

To start things out this new year with a bang I have a free gift for you. You can get my free lessons on Effective Time Management. Learn how to use your time most effectively. Learn how to take control of your time. Get more done and achieve what you want to achieve.

These free ten lessons come to your email in-box just by signing up for them.

Could you use your time more effectively? Could you achieve more if you did use your time more efficiently? Absolutely, and these lessons will show you how. Sign up today and start making the most of those 24 hours you get every day.

Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Learning From 2016 – Planning for 2017

successHow was 2016 for you? I hope it was good or at least mostly good. Did you achieve your goals? Did you make progress on them. This is always a very good time to take stock of where you are, how far you’ve come, and where you are going.

2016

Every year of our lives teaches us things. We merely have to listen. I hope you keep some form of journal. Reviewing a journal is an excellent way to see what you have accomplished and what you may have fallen behind on.

What you write down you will remember and learn from more effectively. Write down a list of the goals achieved, the important things accomplished, and of course the places where things did not work out as hoped.

From this list, and after some reflection, make a list of what you have learned. What works and what does not? How must you adjust your approach in light of your results?

If you suffered some setbacks analyze them. Did you set expectations too high? Not high enough? Did you plan adequately? Did you stay focused? Did you make needed changes to adapt to external change? What might you do differently? Where might you learn skills or information that would help you do things differently?

2017

Now that you have assessed the past year you can plan for the coming year. You can use what you learned from 2016 to do better in 2017.

Create your new goals for 2017. Some may be to complete unfinished goals from 2016. If so re-establish your date of achievement and your mileposts – those things that you plan to achieve monthly, quarterly, and at year’s end.

Do you have new things you would like to achieve? Create new goals then. Just remember not to have too many goals. One to three is ideal. More than that and you can easily overwhelm yourself and achieve little on any goal. It is OK to have more than 3 goals if you work them in succession: get the first three done and then work the next three. Or as one goal is achieved start on another.

It is always exciting to plan for the new year. It will motivate you. The possible is inspiring. Where do you see yourself on December 28, 2017? That is your bearing. Make your plans to move in that direction.

I wish you success and happiness in 2017. I hope to see you here on the blog next year.

Learn how to formulate goals correctly to gain control over your life and achieve your dreams in my book, Goal Power!

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Your Most Precious Resource – Time

ETMLook around your house or your business. Look at all your stuff. How valuable is it? Add up all the assets you own? How valuable is it all?

The most valuable asset you have is not any of that stuff or all of that stuff added together. The most valuable asset you have is your time. Each of us is given the same amount of time each day – 24 hours. The richest people, the most successful people, the most influential people – all have the same 24 hours a day that you and I have. You can trade, sell, buy and create things – you cannot buy or create time.

Get my free Effective Time Management (ETM) lessons. Learn how to take control of your time and achieve more. Get these free lessons here.

We All Have the Same Amount of Time

Leonardo da Vinci, Oprah Winfrey, Andrew Carnegie, Bill Gates, Abraham Lincoln… they all have or had the same amount of time each day as you do. They all had 24 hours a day – which is exactly what you have.

We do not know how many days we have on this earth. We only know that it is a fixed number. We all have a limited amount of time in a day, in a week and in a life time to do what we want to do, to accomplish what we want to accomplish.

You cannot buy, steal, borrow or create more time. We are all given the same amount of time each day for however many days we will have on this earth. It is therefore vital that we learn to use that time and manage that time as effectively as we can.

So it is no longer an excuse to say we do not have enough time. We all have the same amount of time. It is not about how much time you have – it is about how you use it. How you use your time is controlled entirely by how you manage it.

Effective Time Management

It is more important to manage your time effectively than to simply manage your time. You can create the most detailed schedule of how you use your time. You can manage it hour by hour or minute by minute, but if you are using that time effectively all that management of your time is meaningless.

By effective I mean that your time must be organized so that you are most productive. Productive does not necessarily mean the use of time that will produce the most income, wealth or money. It can mean that. Being productive to earn more is a part of good time management. But it is not all there is.

Effective Time Management means organizing how you use your time so as to meet all your needs in a balanced life. It means organizing time to eat a proper diet, get enough sleep, further your education, nurture your relationships, do your job, be creative, get sufficient recreation to recharge your batteries and meet your spiritual needs.

Get my free Effective Time Management (ETM) lessons. Learn how to take control of your time and achieve more. Get these free lessons here.

Time management is certainly in part about how you organize your day, week and month. It is about schedules and appointments. But all that time organization is merely a set of tools to help you effectively manage time to get the most out of life.

The first step to gaining control over your time is understanding these immutable laws about your time:

  1. Time is limited. You cannot gain more time or lose it.
  1. We all have the same amount of time in a given day, week or month.
  1. The most successful people, including the super-achievers of this world, have no more or less time than you do. The secret to their use of time is how they manage it so that they can achieve the most in the given time.

The Good News

Everyone can benefit from these lessons. It does not matter how old you are. It does not matter what you do. You could be a full time parent. You may work from home. You may work a traditional job. You may be an independent contractor. You may be a student.  You may be retired.

No matter what you do you can accomplish more and have a richer life if you effectively manage your time.

Do you have enough time to get everything done you want to do? Would you like to get more done in less time? Get my free Effective Time Management (ETM) lessons. Learn how to take control of your time and achieve more. Get these free lessons here.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Your Most Important Task

12 Habits That Take You To The Next Level

Deciding what to do first can be a head-scratcher. You usually always have a number of tasks to do but it may not always be clear which one you should do first. In his posts on the right habits to cultivate Tomas Laurinavicius suggest you identify your most important task. He says:

“Most of the time I’d just write a to-do list of some random tasks I want to do that day and my over optimistic to-do list would go unfinished every day. Now, I am focusing on one major task, the most important task (MIT) of the day that will help me achieve my vision and contribute the most to the future I want to build. I wrote a piece on Forbes about decision fatigue and its consequences which are all about making a limited amount of decisions every day and consuming a certain amount of willpower for each and every decision.

Defining and focusing on my most important task helps me get the most vital task done and move closer to my main goal, if I still have energy left for other tasks, I’d work on secondary and tertiary importance level tasks to run errands, ensure the cash flow and work on improvements for my business and life”.

The challenge is how to determine what is most important. Sometimes it is what is most urgent unless something less urgent is inherently more important. To sort that out I use a matrix first suggested by President Dwight D. Eisenhower. It was later made famous in Stephen Covey’s book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

eisenhower-urgent-important-500pxUsing this matrix you sort through what is most urgent and most important using the criteria set out in the box. Although some less important but urgent things must be done first you try to do what is most important first and resist being driven only by what appears urgent.

To do this you first do what is in the upper left box: that which is both most urgent and most important, followed by the box at the upper right and then lower left. The least important tasks fall in the lower left box and if done at all they are done last.

Use this matrix every day to sort your tasks and do what is most important and you will achieve more.

You do not have to be brilliant or extraordinary to achieve more. Most people who achieve at higher levels are not smarter than you are and do not have more innate talent than you do. It is now about their abilities; it is about how they use their ability to do more. This series is about just how to do that. It is about how to develop 12 key habits that will enhance your level of achievement on all levels.

This is the 8th of 12 posts on how the right habits can transform your performance to the next level. We are all at some level in terms of what we achieve. For many that level is far less than it could be. Given the right habits we can all achieve more, do more and succeed at levels we may now only imagine.

This series is inspired by the writing of Tomas Laurinavicius, a blogger and designer from Lithuania. His ideas are not new or revolutionary. They capture some basic ideas about habits that will take you to the next level of achievement.

You read the rest of Tomas’ article here.

Learn how you can achieve more and realize your goals in my book, The Success Essentials.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

5 Most Important Time Management Tips

TimeStacey Soble recently posted in Salontoday.com 15 Tips to Help Stressed Out Professionals to Better Manage Their Time.  You do not have to be stressed out or a professional to need to manage your time most effectively. For neither all of us there is not enough time and too much to do. The list is from the book Wait a Hot Minute! How to Manage Your Life with the Minutes You Have by Jackie Gaines (Fire Starter Publishing, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-6221805-4-7, $28.00).

I have reduced the list of 15 to the 5 most important. They are most important because they provide the greatest leverage in managing your time and they are the most challenging to practice every day.

Get Enough Sleep

Without enough sleep you cannot be productive and you definitely cannot be on top of your game. Lack of sleep slows you down, slows your thinking and saps creativity. If you want to improve your productivity and your best use of time make adequate sleep a top priority.

Manage Your Email; Don’t Let It Manage You

This is a tricky one. It depends on how you use email. For example I use email throughout my work day and I cannot turn if off for long. The nature of my work is such that people need answers from me or action from me throughout the day for a large number of different things.

Gaines says to turn your email off during productive time and in general I agree – the more you can ignore email the more you will get done. But if you need to keep in touch with people who need your response quickly you may not have the luxury of turning it off for long periods of time.

If you can turn it off do it. But if you cannot learn to manage it. You do not need to respond to or even completely read every email as it pops into your in box. Develop a strategy to prioritize emails – only respond immediately to the most important, leave the less important and less urgent to a block of time when you can clean up the in box and clear them out. It is a better use of time.

Learn to Say No and Mean It

This is a very hard one for many people including me. I like to serve others. I like to help. I like to stay on top of things. For those that think that way saying no can be difficult but it is crucial to learn to do it.

If you do not learn to say no and mean it you will be pulled in a 1000 different directions and lose control over your own time. Again, it is a matter of prioritizing and only say yes to what is important and what is consistent with your goals.

Set Achievable Goals Each Day

Everyone knows it is important to set goals but not everyone sets them each day. One powerful way to do that is to begin each day going over your task list and appointments and then identifying the 3 most important things you need to achieve that day. That is your goal list for that day.

Stick to it.

Listen Well

Listening well is crucial to saving time. You want to gather information efficiently. You do not want to waste time listening over and over to messages or to what others are telling you. If you listen well you save time. By all means make sure you completely understand what others are telling you – but do not listen half way and then miss out on what may be important.

If you can master these 5 time-management skills and really apply them each day you will have greater control over your time and get more done in less time. Hone these skills and you will master your time and efforts.
Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

Tiger by the Tail

Managing Your Time Effectively

ETMIs managing your time rather like grabbing the tiger by the tail? Does there never seem to be enough time to get it all done? Do you miss deadlines, feel pressured, or just plain do not know if you are using your time in the best way?

I looked for research on this question – how people feel about how they use their time – and I did not find any. There is a ton of literature out there on how to best use your time, manage your time and manage your energy.

Despite not finding a study on this I can tell you from hundreds of conversations I’ve had with people in all walks of life that time management is a problem for many people. Most of us have a lot of obligations: a job, a family, friends, social responsibilities, taking care of a home… the list just goes on. Some people feel absolutely buried in tasks and duties and have no idea how to fit it all in.

Priorities

The truth for many if not most people is that you cannot fit it all in if you try to. That is what many of us do. We try to do it all. We try to be everything to everyone in our lives: parent, mentor, helper, spouse, employee, leader, active in our community, and so on. If we are lucky we may find a bit of time to squeeze in some exercise and healthy eating. Some even get enough sleep.

The average person I talk with does not feel they can fit it all in. Unfortunately what they often sacrifice are important things like their health.

The bottom line is that most of us cannot fit in everything that everyone else in our life wants us to do and everything we want to do along with everything we believe we “have” to do. This inability to get it all done creates stress and unhappiness.

The solution to this is to prioritize. People often shrink from that word. They do not want to confront everything they have to do or want to do and make hard decisions about what to say yes to and what to say no to. Yet the only sane way to manage your time and your work is to prioritize.

Want To

A couple months ago I saw that the local theater group was seeking people to try out for a play. It was a play (The Odd Couple) that I acted in during high school. I had a blast doing that play and I thought how fun it would be to do it again 42 years later.

I spent about 6 hours doing try-outs for the play. Then we were told that the “call backs” would be posted on the theater door the next day.

I walked over to the theater during my lunch break with real mixed feelings. I did want to be in the play and I knew I’d enjoy it. I also knew it would require evening rehearsals from 6:30 PM to 10:00 PM four days a week for eight weeks followed by four weeks of performances. I knew it would be exhausting. And I knew that there were not enough things in my life that I could let go of or wanted to let go of to do this. I wished very much that my name would not be on that list.

I walked up to the door and my name was not on the list. At first it was disappointing. But soon it was mostly a feeling of great relief. I’d jumped into this project without adequately looking at my priorities and determining if this was what I really had time for and really wanted to do right now.

This experience was a great reminder for me to remain mindful at all times of my goals and my priorities and to organize my time in accordance. It means saying no to things I might like to do, and might one day do when I have time, such as be in a play. It means saying no to the many things others ask of us.

It is hard to do this. It is hard to say no to our own desires and to others. But it is essential if we want to manage our time and our energy and avoid undue stress. If we want to do the important things in our life and do them well there is not time to do a lot of additional things.

Tiger’s Tail

Taking on this major new project, being in a play, was truly grabbing the tiger’s tail. And we can well imagine what will happen if we do grab a tiger by the tail – and it will not be pretty.

We need to set limits on what we obligation ourselves to and what we ask of ourselves. Let’s get the important things done first. If there is time left over to do new things that is great, but make sure you have the time and the energy before taking something new on, whether it is something you think you want to do or something someone else wants you to do.

Learn how to manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management. Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com

12 Habits That Take You to The Next Level

Part 2 - Power of Lists

great_idea2We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. — Aristotle

This is the second of 12 posts on how the right habits can transform your performance to the next level. We are all at some level in terms of what we achieve. For many that level is far less than it could be. Given the right habits we can all achieve more, do more and succeed at levels we may now only imagine.

Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

This series is inspired by the writing of Tomas Laurinavicius, a blogger and designer from Lithuania. His ideas are not new or revolutionary. They capture some basic ideas about habits that will take you to the next level of achievement.

The Power of Lists

Most people make them. The grocery list. The Christmas gift list. This simple little tool, a list, can help you organize your life and get the important things done.  Lists free your mind from having to remember what you have to do or when you have to do it. This allows you to focus on more important things.

How to Create and Use a List

You can use whatever tool you find most comfortable or user friendly. You can use paper and pencil, or a word processor such as MS Word, or special software designed for list making. I suggest to start out keep it simple. Use paper or a word processor to make your list. There are several advantages to using a word processor: it allows you to easily prioritize the list, reorder it and add and delete from it.

Write down a list of what you need to do and want to do. Add tasks as they develop. Use a system to prioritize the list. There are many but the simplest is the ABC system. Put an A alongside the most important or urgent items, a B alongside the next important, etc. Then you can number the tasks within each priority category by how important each task is. Example:

A 1 Write letter
A 2 Return call from Bob
B 1 Get printer ink
B 2 Call friend
C 1 Make reservation for next Tuesday

As you add tasks insert them based on priority. Then as you do the tasks follow the priority and check them off when they are done.

How Many Lists?

Some people use just one list with all their personal and work related tasks. Other people have separate lists for different types of tasks. There are advantages to both but when you can it is best to have a single list to prioritize everything you need to do in one place. You will miss things less that way.

Start out with one list with all your tasks on it. Over time if you find an advantage to having 2 or 3 lists you can do that but limit the number. If you have too many lists floating about you will lose focus and miss things that need to get done.

If you have not used lists this way try it out for a couple weeks. You will find you are more organized and you get the important things done when they need to be done.
Learn how to manage your time to achieve more of what you want to do in my book, Effective Time Management. Get free lessons on how to use your time more effectively with my Effective Time Management Lessons.

Wishing you well,

Daniel R. Murphy
Educating people for building wealth, adapting to a changing future and personal development.
www.danielrmurphy.com
www.books2wealth.com