A schedule change in the morning can throw off your whole day. That’s why prioritizing what’s important is a vital part of our “winding down” time at the office. We’re pretty sure you’ve experienced one of those days that have gone from manageable to jam-packed in a heartbeat. So can do you manage?
One of the best tools we use is to identify our lifeboat task. What’s that, you ask? If everything goes awry, right out of the gate, and you can only save one task to bring in the lifeboat with you, which task is absolutely vital? That’s your lifeboat task.
How do we use it in practice?
- First, at the end of your day, make the list of all the things you need to get done for tomorrow.
- Rearrange in order of importance.
- At the top of the list, write your lifeboat task. Think carefully about the task. It should be a task that takes you toward your most important objective. (Remember important is not the same as urgent – it’s likely your lifeboat task is both. Check out Stephen Covey’s Urgent-Important Time Matrix.)
- In the morning, remind yourself of your lifeboat task. If that’s the only thing you do, other than go to meetings, fight fires, and herd cats, commit to getting it done.
- Do whatever’s necessary to make it happen.
- Forgive yourself if you have to let go of some of the the other things on your list.
It might seem counter-intuitive to use time to save time, but in the long run, this will help keep you from getting distracted by tasks that get you nowhere.
Throwing you a lifeline,
Megann and Steve