In an era of smart phones, mobile communications, texting, aps, and all the clutter which SEEMS to make us more effective, any manager who has spanned not years but decades can tell you that things are NOT better, but worse–in fact, far, far worse. We think we see. We think we act. We think we know. But so many are getting lost in a flood, resulting in it becoming harder and harder to JUST think, to just ACT, and get things DONE.
A few helpful hints I will share here, as to professional and personal effectiveness, based on my thirty years of experience across a markedly wide range of business environments, assets classes, and transactions:
Maintain a calendar. I prefer being able to print my milestone dates, of up and coming things to come, and HATE the usual task managers so commonly put out today. I instead use two things: Google Docs for a simple todo list. It is not so much the operating list of ‘did I do this?’, and ‘did I do that?’, as a formal record of up and coming dates. It is a place to put things, on the fly. It does not need to be pretty or complete, but consists of simple reminders.
If I like to pay my Comcast broadband two months at a time, as I do and HATE being charged late fees, then I need to know to check my bill on the 10th of April. I have auto insurance due, on the 3rd of May. My electric bill is posted 4/11. Do it. Get it done.
Then after paying Comcast on the 10th and Electric on the 11th, I perform a simple task in a simple text document, and move it forward. No crumpled slips of paper, no fancy PIM on my smart phone, just a text do.
I go 6/10 and 6/11 and note to pay Broadband and Electric, on those days. Additionally, I might be in Australia for business in July, so know my annual fee for my MagicJack is the 10th of July.
It is low stress to put these in a simple list. Clear?
As distinct from tasks, appointments go to Google Calendar. I do not believe in elaborate calendars, but then again, I am not a dentist or attorney. But I know one thing, the very moment I get an appointment, I create the event, send invites when needed, record the address to the location, and record short link to Google maps when relevant, so I figure out where I am going and how to get there in ADVANCE.
Another day, we can discuss my third tool, my Focus List, or list of all tasks by segment–health, financial, chess, fitness, relationships, practical things, etc. This is where the big picture is assembled and thus viewed.