Joy Strategies
For Your Success in the Business of Life

      In This Issue....
  • On Time: Getting the Right Things Done
  • My Latest HBR Article - Taming the Epic To-Do List
  • workSwell Workspaces Available
  • Remember to Enjoy the View

Dear Friends of Allison Rimm and Associates,

This is my first newsletter of the year and it has been quite a while since the last one. I appreciate the irony of it taking so long - this issue is devoted to tips and tools for managing your time and the eternal to-do list! Of course, once you've read these two articles, I hope you will come to see this as a reflection of my deliberate priority setting. The Joy Strategies blog post offers a visual tool to help set priorities for what gets and stays on the list as well as my system for organizing the projects on my to-do list so they are easy to complete when I get to them. My latest article on Harvard Business Review talks about how to use a strategic approach to managing your to-do lists so you can use your most precious asset - time - to accomplish your priorities. Do you live in fear of dropping a ball or missing an important deadline? Read on...
The Joy of Getting the Most Important Things Done - On Time

Do you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with? That question always gets a big laugh in my career strategy workshops where improving time management is a top priority for participants. Despite that desire, taking control of how they spend their time remains an elusive goal for even highly accomplished professionals. Escaping the tyranny of the to-do list once and for all requires a fresh, vision-driven, strategic, and organized approach.

Managing your time effectively begins with the realization that you are unlikely to ever complete every task on your list. Once you accept that fact, you will see how critical it is to set priorities.

First Things First

Many people find a visual representation of what’s on their list very helpful in determining what they should tackle first. The Importance/Urgency Matrix is a simple tool that works well for this purpose.

Try plotting each item on the grid above. The closer to the upper left corner of the grid you place an item, the sooner you will likely want to complete it as it is both urgent and important. Items on the bottom right – neither important nor urgent – belong on your not-to-do list. You will want to be sure you address all important items, urgent or not.

My Latest HBR Article: Taming the Epic To-Do List

The to-do list can be an indispensable tool when used to mindfully manage your time. But used indiscriminately, you become its servant. The first step in making your list work for you is to be clear on what job you’re “hiring” it to do. Most of us fail to do this, and so our lists are crammed with urgent priorities we must get done immediately (send revised slides to client), important tasks we’re afraid of forgetting because they have no specific due date (book a vacation), and basic tasks that we add to the list because it makes us feel good to check something off (order more pens — done!). Then day after day, we check off the basic items, get the urgent things done (which we probably would have done even were they not on a list) and procrastinate on the other items.

To avoid this problem, I use three lists and a calendar. Each has its own specific function. Specifically, List #1 is for important but non-time-sensitive projects. List #2 is for items that need to be completed today. If I can’t complete the task immediately as it arises, I will record it knowing that I am committing to completing everything on that list before leaving the office for the day.

Timeless Wisdom

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done.” 

― Ecclesiastes 11:4

A Few Workstations  Are Available in Our Brookline Village  Co-Working Space

Are you looking for a dedicated workspace within a community of friendly, independent professionals? Do you need a great place to hold a meeting? Check out workSwell collaborative in Brookline Village to meet like-minded people and see if our workspaces and conference room are the right fit for you. Go workSwell or call 617.910.7968 to schedule a tour. We'd love to see you!

Make Sure To Enjoy The View Along the Way

We can get so focused on where we are going that we often miss out on what is right in front of us. Recently, my husband and I went on an amazing hike in Greece. We went a little farther than planned, so we were racing to get back before nightfall. We were so focused on the darkening path, that it was just by luck I noticed and intense pink glow out of the corner of my eye and called to my husband to stop and look at the sunset. We were rewarded with this spectacular vision when we peeked through the trees lining the trail. It took less than a minute to take in the view and snap a photo, yet it added enormously to our enjoyment of the hike. And now I get to share it with you.

So remember to do your best to remain present and fully experience whatever you set off to do. Don't let rushing to the next thing on your list take you away from what are are doing right now. You never know what you might see.

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