There is a time management tool that uses a simple A-B-C method of assigning priorities. While it is intended primarily as a time management tool for the workplace it can easily be adapted for personal use.
You take everything on your “to do” list, including individual tasks or smaller projects associated with both long-term and short-term goals, then you divide all the individual tasks into three groups:
♦ Group “A” — those items which are urgent, important, or BOTH
♦ Group “B” — those items which are important but which are not urgent.
♦ Group “C” — everything else, literally, everything that is not in group A or in group B.
Here are some examples of some typical workplace activities:
- Group “A” — urgent, important or some combination thereof
— mop up water from overflowed toilet in men’s room and put out “Wet Floor Sign”
— time sheets due on Tuesday
— grant application due on last day of this month
— completed employee evaluations due to HR by 1st of next month.
- Group “B” — important but not urgent
— schedule repair of timer for automatic lawn sprinkler system
— compare cost of owning copy machine versus leasing it
— review security camera footage to see if theft of bicycle from front of building was caught on tape.
— review and revise ordering and receiving procedures to streamline and make them more efficient.
Get the idea?
Now, here is the trick. Once you have your “A” and “B” tasks identified, you’ll have a whole bunch of stuff that did not go into either pile. That is your “C” pile.
- Group “C” — everything else
— read trade magazine
— bring fabric cleaner from home so that next time I have a spill I can clean it up right away without leaving a stain.
— color code the files in my office
— throw away the dead plant in the corner of my office and buy an artificial one from Linens & Things
— have the staff clean out the fridge in the break room. There are biological experiments in there.
The horrible thing about “C” items is that they are a sly temptress and will lead you astray! If you work on a pile of “C” things at the end of the day you feel great. You feel like you’ve really been working hard and gotten a lot done., Because “C” things generally are quick and easy to do. But then, the proverbial “other shoe” drops. You look over at the A and B pile and your realize that “Oh Crap!” The important things got left undone. And not doing those A and B things can spell trouble!
So, take all those C things which are the things that are the least important, put them into an envelope or box and date it. Then hide the box or envelope in a lower desk drawer or closet so that you won’t see it. That way it won’t keep bugging you or tempt you into working on C’s instead of A’s or B’s.
Granted, sometimes a “C” becomes an “A” or a “B”. If that happens, then you can pull it out of the back of the drawer and move it to the desktop, put in the A or B pile and work in it. Anything that is still in the “C” envelope in six months should be either trashed or filed. Face it. If it isn’t important to work on in six months what are the odds that it will *ever* become important enough to work on?
So, now that you know about the A-B-C method, follow along as I put items from the list on my blog post “Getting Healthy is Complicated… …So do it One Step at a Time“, into A, B, and C groups: Read the rest of this entry
I’ve been giving a lot of thought to priorities lately. And choices. And stress. And “to do lists”. And how much or how little time we actually have in a given week. And how much control over our lives or rather how little control we may or may not have. And money or the lack thereof. And what I’d like my life to look like.
OMG!!! I’m having a mid-life crisis!
*PANT* #GASP# “I need bon-bons!” Where’s my fuzzy slippers and my tiarra?!
*Ahem* Sorry about that, my inner Drama Diva took possession of me for a moment. In all seriousness, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to basically three ideas which are intertwined:
1. Being healthy, living healthy is HARD.
2. Being healthy, living healthy takes TIME, lots of it.
3. Everything is connected to EVERYTHING
Which means friends and neighbors that if you make living healthy a priority, then it is going to take time, it is going to be hard and it is going to affect everything! So, that’s where the “start with something small” comes in. And celebrate every completed goal, even the smallest of who’s. Oh, sorry, wrong story. Smallest of Goals is what I meant! [a moment aside…. Those who are new to my blog and who didn’t get that I just alluded to the character of Cindy Lou, one of the smallest Who’s in the Christmas story “The grinch who stole Christmas“… well stick around a while. Soon my world will seem normal and everyone else will seem weird and yes, to those who are interested, that really is how my mind works. Squirrel!]
So, back to the topic at hand. Read the rest of this entry