How To Accomplish More

Author: Byron Pulsifer, ©2006

How do you get more done is a question that I have been often asked by new supervisors or managers. The question arises because people are being stressed due to the number of demands they apparently see that all require completion. They feel overwhelmed and they lose focus easily.

The Answer Is Simple
The answer is simple enough but takes practice in the follow through. You've probably heard it before, maybe even used it yourself from time to time. Here's the simple answer: make a list.

The proper way to make a list work for you, however, is a little more complex, at least initially. And, this method is not only applicable to work environments; it can easily be applied to almost any environment requiring the completion of competing tasks including school, clubs, team training, or household tasks.

After The List
Now, here's the part that is going to take a little practice. First, make a list of all the items that need to be done. Don't miss any. Write everything down no matter how trivial you think it is. Second, and here's the part that takes a little getting used to. Place one of three letters beside each entry on your list A, B, or C.
- The letter "A" means that this item is an absolute must do right now. It's a priority and needs your immediate attention; it can't wait. This is an item that may mean that significant effort will be required. It may be an item that you don't want to do because it is time consuming, or is difficult, or unpleasant. It may also mean that you might have to put in some unwanted overtime to get it done, or even have to take undone portions home to be completed in order to make a deadline.
- The letter "B" means that this item can wait until letter "A" items or items are completed. It doesn't have the same urgency and is, therefore, less of a priority. It doesn't mean that you can forget about doing it; it just means that it shouldn't be done before letter "A" items.
- The letter "C" means that this item needs to be addressed but has no immediate urgency, and shouldn't be done until all item "Bs" are finished.

With Practice
Now that you've written your list and assigned a priority letter beside each item, re-write the entire list in order of "A" priorities, "B" priorities, and finally "C" priorities. In some cases, you may have some trouble assigning priority letters to items on your list, but with practice, you'll get it down pat.

The idea here is not just to do a priority list once, or twice, or even three times. The idea is to make your life less stressful by getting more done with the available time you have - that is, getting more of the important items completed when they should be.

The Greatest Challenge?
The greatest challenge, after completing your priority list, is to actually motivate yourself to do the most important, or sometimes the most difficult items first. You must tackle and complete "A" items first before you even consider doing anything else. Unfortunately, it's far too easy to do the "C" items first especially when you just don't want to expend the energy required to do "A" items, or they present difficulty to you. It's very easy to cheat but what's this going to accomplish? Sure, you'll be able to strike some items off the list. But, you didn't get priority "A" items completed. Remember, you put an "A" beside them - I didn't tell you to do it. It's your list. These are your priorities.

And, once you've completed an "A" item, give yourself a little reward. It doesn't have to be a big reward either. It could be a matter of getting a coffee, or going for a short walk, or listening to that special song on your new CD. This reward simply lets you know that you stuck to your guns, you plunged head long into that task that had a high priority, and you got it done.

A Short But Effective Technique
Accomplish more with this short but effective technique. A simple technique that can pay big dividends. A simple technique, however, that requires self-discipline, motivation and perseverance. Make this technique a habit, and you'll find that you've answered your question of how to accomplish more

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