This is a guest article by Jeff Davidson
Regardless of what kind of sophisticated appointment, scheduling and to-do list system you employ throughout the day, occasionally you may feel at a loss for what to do next, especially when you return from a meeting, lunch or some other activity that took you away from your work space. This is the ideal time to employ what I refer to as the “Now” to-do list.
Before the constant stream of interruptions begin, on a piece of scrap paper, Post-it pad or any electronic screen that suits your fancy, immediately write down the handful of things you want to get to in short order. In other words, take a moment or two to reflect on what you want to tackle in the here and now. Perhaps as a result of the meeting you just attended, or the time you’ve been away, some tasks, search engine look-ups, or administrative details that were not pressing before you left your work space suddenly make sense to tackle. Why?
In some cases, it’s simply a shortcut for having to enter the item into your formal to-do list. You get to strike while the iron is hot, and that is personally satisfying. It also may make excellent sense. Following up on some new piece of information you just encountered, while the issue that it represents is fresh in your mind, affords you the opportunity to allocate some instant energy in pursuing it further.
As you compose your “Now” to-do list, keep in mind some of the items that have already made your formal, extended, list-in-progress could suddenly seem much more appropriate to tackle now, again as the result of whatever new challenges have currently arisen.
I have used the “Now” to-do list and found it to be an ultra-effective way to not lose track or meander on tasks I want to tackle headlong, to reduce anxiety and to maintain a continuing sense of control. Also, the keynote speeches and seminars I’ve delivered invariably invoke a warm reception when I’ve introduced this productivity strategy to audience members.
Some audience members, in one form or another, have already gravitated to the notion of employing short, on-the-fly to-do lists for many—if not all—of the reasons I have described above. So now, put this strategy into place for yourself: As a result of reading this article, what ideas have spun forth and merit inclusion on your “Now” to-do list?
Jeff Davidson, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” has written 59 mainstream books, is an authority on time management, and is an electrifying professional speaker. He is the author of Breathing Space and Simpler Living. He believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his website www.BreathingSpace.com.