Government Connections - Fall 2011 - (Page 21)
GOOD TO KNOW
Urgent Important Urgent Not Important
To-Do Lists for Using Time Effectively
By Claudette M. Ferris, CPS/CAP, CGMP
Important Not Urgent
Not Important Not Urgent
EVER SINCE I CAN REMEMBER, I’ve been doing to-do lists. I think it started with those daily homework assignments many years ago, where I had to write everything down in order to remember what I needed to do for the next day. As a secretary, I was always taught to prepare a to-do list at the end of each day so I’d know what I was to work on the next day or the week ahead. It was a way to keep me organized. I started by listing the most important task at the top, working my way down to the least important at the bottom. It didn’t mean, however, that I was going to do them in that particular order. As secretary on the national board, it was my job to manage the board’s to-do list, which was referred to as the action list. It helped us keep track of our homework assignments following each board meeting. There are many types of to-do lists, and as meeting planners, we all have one sort or another to keep our meetings and our projects organized. Otherwise, how could we remember every little task that needs to get done to ensure that that big meeting and/or conference goes off without a hitch? Some of you may use a day-planner or list your projects electronically on computers and smart phones. Being a visual person, however, I still need to write down my tasks on a piece of paper and have them right in front of me each day when I get to work. Whichever tool you use is certainly helpful, but does it allow you to distinguish between what is important and what is urgent? That’s where the Urgent/Important Matrix (from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People) comes in. It is the most useful tool I have found to prioritize what it is I need to do and to decipher how important it is. The matrix is comprised of four quadrants: urgent-important; urgent-not important; important-not urgent; and not urgent-not important. So how do you determine what task goes where? • Start by thinking about all of your activities and projects • Determine how important each project is • Evaluate the urgency of the project Then list each project /task in that particular quadrant. Put each new task in a quadrant as well. When the project is completed, cross it off and/or start a new list. As deadlines get closer, move projects to one of the urgent categories. As
projects ebb and flow, move them around based on their level of importance. Remember, a successful to-do list is one that not only lists the myriad of tasks to be accomplished, but also helps you prioritize those tasks. Editor’s note: This list is easily created in Microsoft Excel where you can move tasks from one cell to another as they change levels of importance or urgency. For an electronic copy of the to-do list, email firstname.lastname@example.org. G
Claudette Ferris is a planner member of the Rocky Mountain chapter.
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Government Connections - Fall 2011
Travel Tips & Trends
Good to Know
Dieting on a Per Diem
Can You Think in Reverse?
Food and Beverage
U.S. Flag Protocol
The Meeting Minute
Government Connections - Fall 2011