Chris Brogan wrote a great digital devotional post about organizing your business and time. In particular he talks about how he sets priorities when addressing his daily tasks. Chris recommends a “pay yourself first” system where you first focus on promotion and lead generation first, then collaborative projects, followed by urgent and time sensitive tasks and finally those day to day tasks that have to get done, but aren’t particularly urgent or important.
His system reminds me a bit of the common matrix of “urgent/not-urgent” vs. “important/trivial” that I’ve seen in many time and task management systems. His focus, however, is on the outputs of the tasks.
I see it as:
- First, focus on the tasks that produce new relationships and opportunities
- Next, address the tasks that strengthen relationships and tasks that are leveraged with other peoples talents
- Third, clear your plate of anything with a deadline
- And finally, devote the time you have left to the day-to-day tasks before they become urgent
I’ve always maintained that almost any time and task management system is likely to work as long as you follow through and use it. Just having a plan can give you the focus and confidence to get stuff done. Having a plan that fits with your work philosophy is even better. When systems break down, it’s often because the system was too complicated to implement consistently or it doesn’t produce enough metrics or deliverables to keep you honest. By focusing on the output of the task as the organizing principle, I think Brogan’s ideas have cleared the second hurdle.