It's About Time
Prioritizing gets tasks done in order
At the end of a busy day, do you find important things have been left undone?
You're not alone, as it's a common occurrence -- whether in the workplace or home -- to run out of time at the end of the day, leaving important things still to be addressed. Unhappily, it happens to me, too.
I recently met with a client in a busy office. It was late in the afternoon, and I asked her what she had left to do before leaving work.
Looking at the piles on her desk, she answered that she needed to finish the monthly report due that day. She also needed to handle an important financial matter for a client and make sure important bills were paid.
I noted that there wasn't much time left that afternoon, and asked if those were things that could and should have been worked on earlier in the day.
She admitted so, but said she was busy all day and had gotten other things done.
The truth is that we do get things done, but the question is, what things? Things that had a higher priority, or things less important than those yet to be handled?
If it's the former, leaving some important things undone can't be helped, but if the things worked on were less important, there's a need to remember to focus on priorities.
The key is to start the day knowing the most important things that need to be done, and focus on getting them done early.
Too often we start the day with good intentions, but new demands and assignments, some less important, sidetrack us. And too often we wait until the last minute to do our important tasks -- and run out of minutes.
What can we do? Change the order in which we do things.
I like what California professional organizer Marcia Ramsland has observed: "We always have time for what we do FIRST!"
It's not unlike how we should spend our money.
What would happen if we spent our paycheck or monthly allotment on this and that, and ran out of money for important things like rent or mortgage, utilities, loans and insurance?
With money, we take care of the important things first. We should do likewise with our time. And if we do "r.o.o.t." (run out of time), at least we will have accomplished the most important things.
What are the most important things you need to do today?
I encourage you to utilize the FIRST minutes of your day, instead of depending on the last. As Ramsland says, "We always have time for what we do FIRST!"
See you in two weeks!
Ruth Wong owns Organization Plus. Contact her care of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813, call 488-0288 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org