This is the second part of our guide to time management systems. As a homage to Brian Tracy’s ‘Eat that Frog’ we use the metaphor of a frog to describe how the time management system works.
This is where you brainstorm your to-do list, and take all your frogs and categorise them into:
- A: So yummy that I must eat first – i.e. urgent and important tasks
- B: Not that yummy, i.e. important tasks
- C: Really not yummy at all, i.e. tasks that are neither important or urgent.
The ‘to achieve’ list
Many folks are, shall we say, fairly picky over how regimented their frog eating must be. The thought of a well laid out menu of frog dishes – i.e. a ‘to-do’ list makes them feel constrained. Consequently, there are many folks, (who are often a Myers Brigss ‘P’), who like to make sure that they have eaten their frogs by the end of the day, i.e. they have a ‘to achieve’ list. But, they leave themselves personally responsible for when they will eat the frogs and in what order. Here are more ideas on how to make the ‘to do’ or ‘to achieve’ list really work for you
The 3/3/3/3/3 technique.
This technique is one that makes sure that you really do get to eat the frogs, which are hard to catch and take lots of time to cook properly. In this technique, you draw up a list of the frogs you will eat in the next 3 hours, the next 3 days, the next 3 weeks, the next 3 months and the next 3 years. This is a good technique to keep you focused on both the short term and long term priorities.
This is a technique similar to the pomodoro technique. In this methodology you have an hour to eat all the frogs you can do, making sure you can’t be interrupted or disturbed during this hour. This technique is often used when you have a focused hour or 30 minutes processing emails or returning calls. Before you start doing power hours to process your email, you may find this article useful: ‘How to permanently eliminate a cluttered inbox’
The default diary
This is a technique that assumes you will only be eating a certain type of frog on a certain type of day – and these will have a daily, weekly or monthly recurring patter. This is a very good technique to use to make sure that the important, but not always urgent stuff, always happens. For example, if you decide that Friday is a ‘no client’s day’ to allow you to catch up on your admin, this is you using a default diary. You may be interested in ‘slash and burn: your diary destruction derby’
All joking aside, there are many time management techniques out there. It doesn’t matter how simple or how complicated they are, if you don’t have the discipline to follow one, then you will never be organised.
What’s your favourite tried and tested time management system?