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Chapter 7. Block 4—Understanding Plannin... > How to Do Effective Daily Task Plann...

How to Do Effective Daily Task Planning

Use the sample planner sheet to practice effective daily planning. Here are the steps.

  1. Develop a priority task list for each day. This helps sort out the important tasks from the less important. Determine which tasks need to be attacked first, and which can be saved for later or dropped entirely.

    Here’s this process: List in your planner the tasks you want to spend your time on that particular day.

    Your list might include items like “Complete the XYZ report,” “Get stamps,” “Billy’s softball game,” “Eat more fish,” or “Date” with your spouse or one of the kids.

    Don’t be concerned with the importance of the items at this stage, just get in the habit of listing all nonroutine tasks that you’ll want to do that day.

  2. Assign a letter priority to each item on the list. Use A, B, c, or *(star). Put the letter A next to items that MUST be done. These are critical to you based on your values and goals. Tasks that are required, either by outside forces like your boss or by internal ones like your personal commitment will normally receive an A priority. (In the Plan-It, you place the letter in the column right next to the item. Put the letter A for MUST DO items.)

    Use the letter B to indicate SHOULD DO items. These are things that should be done, items that would really be worth spending some time on. They aren’t quite as critical as the As, but they are nevertheless important.

    The letter C is used for COULD DO items. These are things worth listing, worth thinking about. And if you get the As and Bs all done, worth doing.

    The asterisk indicates an item that is URGENT—something that must be done now. It is both important and time vital. You’ve got to get on it right away. The urgent task is not something planned during your dedicated planning time. It pops up and screams “do me now!” When these come up, add them to your list, put a star by them, and drop whatever else you’re doing, even if it’s an A item.

    CAUTION: Use the star very sparingly. Be certain that an urgency is really important before you bump the rest of your plan to squeeze it in. Just because something makes a lot of noise doesn’t mean it necessarily has to be done immediately. Don’t let an apparent urgency override a planned important task.

    Urgent items don’t come up all that often. A, B, and C items should cover most of your tasks.

  3. Assign a number to these tasks. You can further sharpen your plan of attack—your strategy for getting your work done—by assigning a number to each task.

    Use the numbering system as a chronological indicator. That is, ask which task can I realistically get at first? If I have a meeting at two in the afternoon and it’s an A item, it may not be A-1, simply because there are other things I’ll want to do earlier in the day. You decide how you use it, but the number system provides your marching orders.



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