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  • Hard Landscape vs. Action Item

    How do you know whether some items belong on the action list or the 'hard landscape'? For example, I am in charge of creating and distributing a major report each week. This report must be completed by 2pm on Fridays. I usually start on the report first thing Friday morning and finish it within 2 hours. I can start it on Wednesday or Thursday, but I have found over time that it is easier to start and finish it all on a Friday morning because some information arrives at the last second Friday morning. I usually start around 8:30 and turn it over to the receptionist at 10:00am so she can make photocopies and distribute it. Should I make a this a repeating appointment on my palm for 8:30-10:00am every Friday or should it be a repeating task that only shows up on Fridays? I hate to clutter the calendar, but at the same time I should block off time for this critical task. I think what really concerns me is that I have a lot of 'routine' tasks like this that have to be done on certain days, but not necessarily at a specific time. I know how long each routine task takes and some require a half hour or more. These really make my day look cluttered, but it also gives me a more accurate picture of my free time when I schedule meetings and accept other projects. I also know that 'work expands to fill the time allotted' and I don't want to get in the habit of scheduling 2 hours to do my report if I can get it done in 1 hour most days. Any thoughts?

  • #2
    Hard Landscape

    I can offer 2 suggestions. First, if you are using Outlook, you can schedule an item on your Calendar that does not have a specific time, but does have a specific date. In this way, you could schedule this to repeat on Fridays. As you review your Calendar for the day, you would see the next action that "has to be done" on that day, but it would give you time flexibility.

    You already mentioned the second approach which frankly works better for me and that is to schedule-in a specific time to work on the project. I have trouble with discipline sometimes and this forces me to commit to the task at hand. If you finish early, you have a great uncommited block of time to do something on your next actions list.

    Tom

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    • #3
      The answer could be quite simple: do whatever works best for you. I e if it gets things done, it works. I wouldn't bother about the calendar being cluttered, if it makes you Get Things Done. What David goes against is trying to foresee what will happen when, because things change and then you have to reschedule - you're *not* getting things done other than maintaining your calendar.
      Same goes for Outlook handling: if you find yourself doing too much rescheduling, go for a day reminder - if that on the other hand sometimes leaves you with no time left, make a proper appointment, and treat it as holy (i e let even the president wait ).
      HTH /Kjell

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