Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Thursday, June 19, 2008

From List to Making it Happen

It's great to have a To-Do List or plan of what you want to do. But the critical step is the action plan of how that To-Do List or plan is going to get done. Often I see clients who make tons of lists or reminders or talk about how they've thought of all the things they would like to organize, do, make or whatever.

These lists, once written or thought of, however, do not always get accomplished. The paper is put on the refrigerator or stuffed somewhere and end up becoming a piece of clutter to be disposed of. Just looking at the list or talking about the plan becomes a reminder of all that needs to be done, and often people get frustrated or overwhelmed and end up saying 'never mind'.

Here's some suggestions for going that extra step:

  1. Be realistic. Definitely put down things you want done, but keep money, time and resources in mind.
  2. Be specific. Don't include multi-step, complicated projects on your list; break them down into specific, easier-to-do tasks.
  3. Put accountability in place. Make specific ways to check as to how you're doing on the list. Have regular reminders or dates to keep you on task.

Here are some other tips for setting priorities*:

  • Use a paper-based, electronic or computerized list to keep track of your tasks, instead of relying on your memory. A list will give you a clear idea of what you need to accomplish.
  • Which tasks could you handle another day? If you would face no consequences by moving a task forward, move it ahead another day or another week.
  • Know the difference between important and urgent. Important means a task needs to be done, while urgent means it must be done immediately. Knowing the difference between the two will make prioritizing easier.
  • Realize that you can't do everything. This will help you to realistically prioritize your tasks.
  • Determine if postponing the task would affect other projects you are working on. Tasks and projects can have a domino effect. If you do one task, yet fail to do another, you may have wasted effort on the first task.
  • Set clear goals. There's a saying, "If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there?" By not setting clear goals, you may be accomplishing tasks with short-term benefits.
  • Are you making a task a top priority because it's easy? Don't be fooled by easy tasks, especially when they could be done days or weeks later.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity of tasks. Accomplishing a few tasks that are a higher priority is better than accomplishing several lower priority tasks.
    [*from home office expert Lisa Kanarek]