Yeah, yeah I know with a cup of coffee. So what are you doing while you are drinking that first cup? Answering e-mails? I just re-read an article on Fast Company about this. I’ve had it bookmarked as something to come back to periodically. I guess today was the day.
Some mornings I find myself overwhelmed with all of the things I want to do that day. OK that’s every morning, so what do I do about it? Well you’re looking at it. I like to write. I’m using ActiveCollab more and more, but Evernote is also a great tool for this. I write down all of the things I really would like to be doing today. Some of you might even favor good old fashioned pen & paper for this.
I write down all of those things that are swimming around in my head that I’d like to be doing today. Then I open my calendar (BUT NOT MY E-MAIL) and look at my day. Can I squeeze any of this in? Is there anything I can cancel or postpone in favor of what I REALLY want to be doing? The more I do this, the more I find my calendar filled with the things I want to be doing and the less I am doing the things I don’t want to be.
Taking a page out of Shafat Qazi’s book I look at my task list for the day (ActiveCollab is great for this). Today it looks like this:
This includes everything. I don’t get overwhelmed by this. I know I am not going to get through all of this today. At the end of the day I will go through all uncompleted tasks and with my calendar open I will schedule the time to get these things done. Much of it is general follow up, or client specific stuff that can be done the next time I see or work on them.
What Shafat taught me is that while I am looking at this list, I think in terms of whom I can assign things to. In fact I know have a colleague I am working with who’s role is specifically to take on any of these tasks that I don’t want or have time for. Leveraging my own strengths I am training him to take on a lot of these tasks as I transition my own life into new roles. This is how I replace the things I don’t want to be doing with the things that I do. At the same time I am helping someone else to make a living while not leaving money on the table. In other words, I still get the work done (with someone else’s help) I bill the client and pay him. Everybody wins.
ActiveCollab makes it easy to assign the tasks, and since I have my team in here as users I can easily assign tasks to them:
They will be notified and I can set a due date. Comments can be posted right there on the task so we can have the discussion right there. If an assignee is over loaded they can comment and say, “hey I can’t get this done today, can I have til Friday?” Then I can decide whether or not it can wait.
The point is that I actively look to assign things from my list to others so I can focus on what I really want to be spending my day doing.
That’s the first hour of my day. Now it’s time to move on to hour #2. Off to the gym!
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