Time Management: Do You To Do?

You know that feeling one gets, especially at the end of a workweek, when you look back and you can’t figure out what you actually got accomplished? You know what I’m talking about… it is the feeling we get when we look at all those “to do’s” we wrote down on our list, yet at the end of the day we’ve only crossed off maybe a couple.

You ask yourself, I was at the office every day of the week… why didn’t I accomplish my list of 5 to do’s? I often think back and mutter, It wasn’t as if I was just sitting here doing nothing, so why does it feel I didn’t get anything accomplished? Why didn’t I cross off more things on my list?

And when I try to remember what it is that I did instead of the things on my list, I can’t remember.

I used to get this feeling all the time. So I had to come up with a simple system that would help avoid this horrible feeling of uselessness.

After some thought, I realized that I was doing a good job of tracking the things that I needed to do for the week or the day, but I didn’t keep track of the things I did. There is a big difference if you think about it. Most of us keep track of things we have to do. But we rarely keep track of things we’ve done.

 I’ll give you an example to illustrate the difference and how this simple documenting method has helped me with being more productive. Below are 4 to do’s I set out to do the other day.

Throughout the day, I also met with an employee about her vacation days and we chatted a few more minutes about work, home, kids and things like that. Later, I was asked to fix the printer that stopped working. While I was troubleshooting the printer, I got a call. It was the person that handles our hospital and insurance credentialing. She wanted me to forward signatures she needed for one of my doc’s renewal. I also sent off emails. One was about an invoice I had received, but wasn’t sure for what it was for. That took about 20 minutes since I had to do a little diggin’ before sending the email.

Oh, I also read online all the healthcare stuff, read a few other news headline, checked Twitter, checked traffic on my blog, responded to a comment on my blog and I also met with and had lunch with representatives of the local hospital wanting us to become aware of several new initiatives they are working on.

 At the end of my day, I added all the things I did to my list, and this is how my list ended up.

 

By taking the time and documenting what I had done during the day, I’m able to track my daily progress as well as see where I was spending my time. Now, when I look at my list, I don’t get that sense of incompetency.  Not to mention that the documeting method helps me readjust my priordities.

This method is also helpful when one is being reviewed at work. Documenting day to day activities help one remember tasks performed that could potentially be crucial discussion points.  

What do you think? Would this be something that works for you? What do you do to keep track of everything?

4 thoughts on “Time Management: Do You To Do?”

  1. Tim,

    Sounds like you got a really good system. I don’t think I’ve yet become that disciplined, but I’m working on it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    B

  2. I do this too, and I’m using it more and more in my life.

    I started out recording the good things that my family or I did in an Excel document, so that we could look back and enjoy what we enjoyed (if you know what I mean!)

    This is a great way to round off the year, particularly if you have photos to go with some of your achievements.

    Anyway, I expanded this idea to the website I work on, setting myself monthly, weekly and now daily targets, again, in Excel, that I strikethrough (ctrl+5) when I’ve done them.

    It’s great to know (a) what I’m going to do, (b) to take satisfaction in and look back at what I managed to achieve and (c) to know what still needs to be done!

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