As Easy As 1-2-3

I admit it. I am a serial list maker. At the beginning of each day, I typically find myself making a “to-do-list” of what I both want and need to get accomplished that day. There is nothing unusual about this. My guess is that many of you do the same.

What I would like to share is a method which I find very helpful. Once your list is compiled, prioritize it. I divide mine into three columns that I call: have to, want to and would like to. First, I pick the top three things on the list that I deem most important to be done without fail today. This is my “have to” list. Then despite distractions, pressure and opportunities that come up, I make sure that each of these three things are done before the day is over. No shutting the lights off until this is accomplished.
Then as time allows, I proceed to the “want to” and “would like to” columns. These lists can be as long as you wish, but make sure to limit the “have to” column to three maximum, or you will become frustrated and lose focus. Not every task can be most important. Pick three and stick with them.

How important is it to perform this exercise? To me, it is critical. I love hearing customers and co-workers say things like “your submittals are always on time” or, “I never have to ask you twice.”

In so many words, they are saying “I can count on you.” This is one way positive reputations are built. Give it a try. What’s in your top three today?

Tom Jennings

Friday, December 9, 2011