This month we recommend a time management system to help you organize your life and manage your time more effectively. By doing this we will reclaim more time to demonstrate leadership in other vital ways. The key to achieve this is to establish a Master List, Master Calendar and Master File.
We begin by briefly mentioning your Master List. It keeps an inventory of all your unfinished work and ongoing projects. Anything that remains in progress or undone should be written on your Master List. Some people use a paper format and others use a software program depending on their preference.
Here are some things to include on your own Master List.
– Date the list, and update it daily .
– Use lined paper either letter or legal sized.
– Write on each line. It is an itemized “to-do” inventory.
– When you finish a project, give yourself the pleasure of
off the item from the list.
– Keep it on top of the desk where you can see it.
– Each evening scan it and update it for tomorrow’s priorities.
– Coordinate it with your Master Calendar.
Your Master Calendar is used in conjunction with your Master List and together they help you to focus on what you have scheduled to do and what is really important. Here are some important qualities of your Master Calendar.
– It goes hand-in-hand with your Master List.
– On it are your scheduled appointments or meeting times transferred from your Master List.
– It should offer a daily and weekly calendar view.
– If your calendar is on a software program, print it out each day and keep it next to your Master List on your desk.
– Each evening scan it for tomorrow’s activities. Again, coordinate it with your Master List.
When daily information or potential new tasks arrive, you should quickly make one of the following decisions. First, if it concerns you, add it to your Master List. Secondly, if it concerns someone else or their job, pass it on. Third, if it is not important, quickly glance at it and throw it away! Now that we can focus on what is important as noted on our Master List we can make sure our work space is not cluttered and confusing. To achieve this we create a Master File.
File Box – Locking
Your Master File is the collection of all separate file folders you individually create for each project or task on your Master List. Your Master File is kept in your desk drawer or in a file box. (Again, some individuals desire to use a paper format, and others may use a software program.)
All papers regarding a client, customer or a project should be kept together in a file folder. This includes reports, meeting notes, phone conversations, correspondence, etc. Remember to never put a piece of unfinished work inside a file folder without “noting it” on your Master List or you will forget it. Here are things to heed when maintaining your Master File.
– Write the name of the project or client on the folder tab. Label each folder clearly.
– Don’t write small bits of information “on” a file folder itself. Use a separate piece of paper and place it inside.
– Keep all folders in a drawer and off your desk unless you are presently working on these specific projects.
– If you do this with software, use a good file manager like *VCOM**PowerDesk Pro*®.
– Arrange folders in order of importance or frequency.
– Use staggered tabs. Different folder colors can indicate a different level of importance.
– Don’t reuse old paper folders. You want them to look fresh, clean and professional.
If you do this diligently, your work environment will be uncluttered and easy to work at. Here is a brief recap. All your ongoing projects are written on your Master List. Any items that are date sensitive are also coordinated on your Master Calendar. All information regarding your various projects are now located in a Master File. Inside it are the separate file folders for each of your projects. Keep the files you are not presently working on off your desk . It is essential to keep your work space clear, and free from distraction.
When you complete a project, file it away and “
cross it off” your Master List! By establishing and maintaining a Master List, Master Calendar and Master File system you are well on your way to more effective time management!
For we LEAD, this is Greg Thomas reminding you that it was Gothe who wrote, “ Do the duty that lies nearest thee; thy next duty will then become clearer. ”
On the weLEAD Website you will find over 70 other free helpful leadership tips. They are all available in a text version or as an MP3 audio!