Imagine having nothing on your Things to Do list – what would you do with yourself??
Recently I did what Jay Abraham does in marketing – I took a concept which works really well in one field and transposed it to another; namely I train around Planning & Scheduling at work so thought I’d try it in my own life.
I’ve been working on projects with large mining companies and they have invested likely $ billions on this system so I thought that if it performs for Mining, why can’t it work for me?
4 Simple Steps
Don’t get me wrong, my list will grow again now I have this time on my hands; suffice it to say that I’ve now realised that a TTD list is a staging post of creation not a waiting room.
What I did
The four steps I’m using are: Identify, Plan, Schedule, Execute.
List the key things that come to mind (or grab your current list) and fill it up. After you stop, go two more times and get those last stragglers. With each item, identify the Priority and Estimated Duration.
Estimated Duration: How long does it take to make a call to get a refund on a health benefit or to change a PIN number in the bank? An hour, half an hour … more likely 8 minutes. If we’re honest about how long something actually takes, it is really a lot shorter than we often perceive. Don’t worry, you’ll get better at guessing this because during your Execution stage you’ll capture Actual Duration, and over time you’ll get more accurate.
How much time during a day are you actually going to have to do the things you’d like to get done … and I’m talking time you won’t be doing anything else? 60 minutes? 3 hours? Whatever it is, note down that figure (in minutes) as your Capacity per day. It may change day to day, so aim for a figure which covers the average. Whilst I’m away in Chiang Mai I have nothing I have to do, so I’ve put down 300 minutes per day – 5 hours.
Sort your list by Priority (feel free to use this spreadsheet I’ve created and set up for you and look at the screen shot to see how to do that). Ideally use the Custom Sort and sort by Priority then by Duration.
Look at the next few days in your diary (I’ve chosen 7 days, but do whatever you can, aiming for at least 2 days in advance) and schedule when you’re going to do the top things (with the shortest duration first) over those days based on your Capacity.
Do your Things and where possible, note down how long it took. Travel time is generally not included as if you know what things you need to do, you can usually make sure you detour during the day to do them.
This estimate will help you improve your durations in future.
Once you’ve completed the items, enter your Duration figures to see how close you were in your estimate and use that information to plan better next time. Also, move completed items to the bottom of your list or delete them (and if you’re using my Excel file, reset the column as shown in the Actual column and you’ll hide those items automatically.)
If you do the above for 10 days, I think you’ll find that your list reduces dramatically and you’ll be free for the New Year.
Good luck and just give it a go on paper or with my Excel file and reap the rewards.
PS check out my article about 4DX – the Four Disciplines of Execution for further planning tips.
Comments: I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts and feedback below.