ContactA common structure-pitfall is to get stuck in your e‑mail. We have a to-do-list and perhaps we even transferred it into the latest app someone recommended to us, but when we arrive at work in the morning and turn on the computer, it lets out a loud ”ping” and the substantial list of new e‑mails we have received appears.
We happen to see an e‑mail which was written in a slightly angry tone, and we start dealing with what is concerns right away. As we are composing a carefully written response, another e‑mail drops into the inbox, and then another. Throughout the day we attend a few meetings and use our breaks to process and reply to another few e‑mails.
As we are gathering our belongings and getting ready to leave at the end of the day, it occurs to us that ”Right, we had a to-do-list to deal with as well!”. And when we open it, it contains a few things which really needed to get done today.
We have no choice but to work overtime.
Make the list easily available
If this sounds familiar you need to make it easy to primarily pick tasks and assignments from the to-do-list, and thereby make it easier to remember the tasks which do not arrive in the form of an e‑mail.
Here are four suggested methods. Choose one which you believe will suit you depending on what tools you use.
You can for instance try one of the following
- If you keep your to-do-list in a web service, change the settings for your computer so that the internet browser and the page with the web service opens automatically when you turn on the computer.
- If you use a Mac, then use the quick-launch app Alfred to create a script which launches all the programs and documents you want to open before you start working.
- If you are using Outlook’s Tasks-function, change the settings so that the first window displayed as Outlook opens is not the E‑mail, but the Tasks-list (to do this you click File / Alternative / Advanced / Start and close Outlook / Browse… (next to ”Start Outlook in this folder”) and choose the window you want displayed when the program starts).
- If you keep your to-do-list on paper, place the list on you computer keyboard before leaving the office every afternoon. You will not be able to open the e‑mail without first moving the to-do-list.
First priority becomes the right priority
If you make it easy for yourself to become aware of your to-do-list you will from now on prioritize more accurately. You will not be as tempted to prioritize something which you should not just because you received the task through a channel which you have a tendency to tune in and pay attention to (such as your e‑mail).
What is your way?
How do you make sure you remember that you have a to-do-list and then actually use it? Tell me!