Getting Things Done – Part 1

Getting Things Done – Part 1

As a continuing part of a leadership development program that I am involved with at work, today I attended another AAIM seminar.  Today’s seminar was a full-day seminar focusing on Personal Productivity (i.e. Getting More Done / Getting Things Done).  I’ve been looking forward to this seminar for a while as I typically have a flurry of stuff going on between family, work, church, school, home projects, etc.  It was a profitable day for me and so this series of blog posts will be geared towards sharing some of what I learned (much of which was not rocket science, but rather refreshing and novel stuff that we simply fail to put into practice).

The class was geared around the following objectives:

  • Identify how you use your time; identify which activities are important and which are a waste of your time.
  • Create a comprehensive list of all of your outstanding commitments.
  • Use a process to quickly identify the next actions needed to complete projects.
  • Develop a personalized system to keep track of your commitments and projects.
  • Describe ways to eliminate procrastination.
  • Identify ways of eliminating or lessening interruptions.

Categorizing Your Tasks

One of the more helpful ideas discussed was the concept of categorizing your tasks based on urgency and importance.  The concept takes the structure of a quadrant with horizontal categories of “Urgent” and “Not Urgent” and vertical categories of “Important” and “Not Important”.

Quadrant 1: Urgent/Important

This is the quadrant in which most of us fall.  We’ve got a lot of stuff to do and it all seems important (whether to us or someone else).  Some of this is just part of our jobs, but some of it is due more so to lack of preparation, poor planning, or procrastination.  This is the quadrant of crisis which makes our lives feel stressed.  The best thing you can do with the stuff in this quadrant is to manage it.

Quadrant 2: Important/Not Urgent

This is the quadrant in which we want to be – this is where we should want to live.  Much of what is in here is often what leads to Quadrant 1 if we fail to prepare or plan or if we procrastinate.  I’ll talk more about how to properly manage ourselves in this quadrant in Part 2 of this blog series.

Quadrant 3: Urgent/Not Important

This is the quadrant of deception.  This is where we must hold fast to the phrase: “poor planning on your part does not necessitate an emergency on mine.”  This is the quadrant that most often leads to our feeling of annoyance.  Strive to avoid this quadrant by saying no and holding up your priorities.

Quadrant 4: Not Urgent/Not Important

This is the quadrant of excess.  All sorts of things can fall in to this quadrant – the goal is to keep them out.  This does not contradict the need for down-time; but, when non-urgent, unimportant things fill our lives, we’re losing focus on the important things (and possibly other urgent things).

So the intent here is to categorize your tasks, determine which quadrant they fall into and treat them as such.  In Part 2, we’ll look in more detail with respect to living in Quadrant 2 which is the ideal.


~ by toddbumgarner on May 2, 2008 5:39 am.

3 Responses to “Getting Things Done – Part 1”

  1. […] 2008 5:40 am by toddbumgarner This is Part 2 of a blog series on Getting Things Done.  See also: Part 1 (Categorizing Your […]

  2. […] 6:48 am by toddbumgarner This is a long overdue, continuing post on Getting Things Done. See also Part 1 | Part […]

  3. […] toddbumgarner This is a continuing post on long, drawn-out Getting Things Done series. See also Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3. Without further ado (see Part 3 if you need the ado), here is how I go about […]

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