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Streamline Your Day In Just A Few Minutes

Feb 19, 2008
Do you feel like you always have too much on your plate? Like your day needs to be closer to 35 hours because: your boss requested that you walk his dog, your spouse needs you run that extra errand across town, and you still need to edit your kid's album on Photoshop?

Well, if you're like me, your days stretch into weeks, right? Well, there's a solution to that! You can prioritize.

Sure, it sounds simple for a method of time management. But choosing what to prioritize is not easy for many people. The trick is to have the willpower to drop whatever is not urgent and important in your day. So how do you do the choosing?

1) First, get a pen and paper. Or open your computer's spreadsheet or word processing program.

2) Now write down the things you need to do, are planning to do, and the things you usually do, maybe even without thinking about them. (You may only need to do this step the first time as you will begin to be aware of everything you do right away. However it still important to regularly do the following steps)

3) Make categories: "urgent and important", "important but not urgent", "urgent but not important", and "not important nor urgent".

a. Under "important and urgent," write down what you need to do now that is of high importance. The kind that if you don't do tonight, you'll get fired, or worse, your wife will make you sleep outside the house. Make sure that these are really important, that not doing this would have a big consequence. No, it does not mean the task of having to buy your wife a can of Pringles in the middle of the night. Unless she's pregnant and you don't want to wake up next to the dog.

b. Next, under "important but not urgent," write what is of great importance to you but you can do tomorrow or next week.

c. Under "urgent but not important," write down what you want to do today, but not really essential to survive another (normal 24-hour) day.

d. Finally, under "not important nor urgent," write what you honestly could live without.

4) Next go through your list. For the ones under Category 1 (urgent and important), see how much you could squeeze in today, with enough breathing space and time to sleep for 7-8 hours. Budget your day around that, and make sure you stick to that schedule. If your day still runs over, this means you need to choose some tasks and schedule them for the next day. If there is a deadline that absolutely must be met then you might choose to keep going but be sure to take hourly breaks and drink plenty of water to keep your energy up. Also, see how much of it you can delegate or outsource to others.

5) For Category 2 (important but not urgent), schedule a maximum number of 5 tasks from this list to do daily, with the task's deadline in mind. Make sure to make some allowance for "surprises", if it's a really important task. Generally, a new task may take twice as long you think it will, so plan accordingly.

6) For Category 3 (urgent but not important), if a task on the list says "send email greetings to mom-in-law (ordered by wife) today," do it after everything else in Category 1 has been done. Unless mom-in-law's birthday is today and not emailing will mean Family World War 3, that is. (Most successful people list their families as one of their most important valuables.)

7) Finally for Category 4 (not important, nor urgent): Don't do it today!!! Yes, you can live without checking MySpace (or so and so's blog, or whatever) today. So turn off your computer, take a bath or do something else good for your physical and mental health, snuggle next to a dear one, and rest well. For tomorrow, you're doing another Category 1 list again.

Simple, right? Now, all you need is the willpower to stick to the list and learn to realize that not checking MySpace today will not result in severe stomach ulcers. Commit to doing these for at least 7 days and you will notice results in your life.

Now, if you want to make it even easier and more powerful there are computer and web based programs you can use to assist you in prioritizing as well as electronics like PDA's.

How I prioritize my days is by using a free program called Simpleology 101 invented by marketing and internet genius Mark Joyner. In it I have learned how to more easily and quickly figure out what I truly want to achieve and methods and tools for taking the shortest route to whatever my target is.

I also use a palm phone to remember important tasks while away from my desk and minimize time used in other activities like looking for phone numbers to call people.

What ever method you use, make sure it works for you to help you focus on what is truly important, what will get you what you truly desire, and take the direct route to your target.
About the Author
Shane Butler is the founder of http://www.EasyGlobalSuccess.com and now forming http://www.InspireUniversity.com. He enjoys online businesses, personal growth, and nature photography. Please feel free to distribute this article to whomever you feel could benefit from it as long as you share it as it is found here without changing anything. Thank you.
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