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Time Management Techniques Part 2 Work the Plan

Elizabeth Marks

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In the first part of this article series we discussed the benefits of identifying what you value and prioritization. In the article we will learn how to keep your plan on track and what to do if someone interrupts you.

Working Your Plan

With your newly prioritized list, you're ready to start your day. You've just outlined your game plan. As you begin working on the tasks there are a few ways to keep track of status.

  • When you've completed a task, mark the item with a  (check mark).

  • If you're in progress, mark it with a
  • solid dot.

  • If you are dependent on someone else's input or if you've delegated the task, mark the person's initials next to the item.

  • For example if Peggy Johnson helped then mark a PJ.

  • Canceled items can be marked with X.

  • Items moved to a future date should be moved with ’ and the date to which you moved it marked in parenthesis (date)

    PJ B1 Schedule meeting with reviewers

    (8-2-09) A2 Submit proposal

    X C Catch up with Jane

     A1 Incorporate changes to proposal

    ‡ A3 Compare vendor services

    No doubt, as you set out with a plan and are determined to stick to, things will occur that threaten your plan. We'll call these interruptions or distractions. Don't worry. Here are a few ideas on how you can handle these as well.

    Reschedule Interruptions

    You might think you can't do anything about interruptions; after all they are unplanned events. Let me be the first to say you have more control over them than you know. Allow me explain through the use of another scenario.

    When someone comes to you and wants to “shoot the breeze" and you don't have the time, here's what you can do. Say politely, “I'd like to talk but now is not good for me. Can we catch up at 3pm?" Did you notice how we just rescheduled the interruption to a time that works better with our schedule? Most people will respect your wishes, and you can get your work done.

    Avoid Distractions

    Some items on your list may, in fact, be things you don't need to do at all. How do I know that? Remember your value statement? Compare each task to your value statement. Ask yourself “will completing this task help me reach my value statement? Or does it hinder my value statement?" Depending on how you answer those two questions, determines whether you work on that priority or not. If doing this item doesn't help you reach your value statement, don't do it. Ah, isn't that a relief?

    Closing the Day

    At the end of a very productive day, it's time to wrap up any loose ends. Just as you started the day with planning, you will also end your day planning. Any items you didn't get done should be transferred to the next day. When tomorrow arrives, you'll start the prioritization process over again with your new list of tasks for that day.

    To recap, you have learned to work your plan, stay on course by rescheduling interruptions and how to wrap up your day so you can retire without stress. In addition, you learned how to plan for the next day.

    © Elizabeth Marks has 20 years business experience in sales, marketing, operations, Six Sigma project management, and business planning areas. She enjoys sharing her knowledge to benefit others’ development and growth. For more business articles visit For devotions or bible studies visit today.

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