Tag Archives: prioritize

4 Must-Know Steps for Following Through

Planner and iPhone by koalazymonkeyBelow are the steps to making a powerful list that will offer you confidence that you are doing what you need to be doing, when you need to be doing it.

1) Write your list

Your first step is to write down all the tasks you can foresee having to do today and in the future—this is your master task list. Tasks that you don’t see doing anytime soon can be put on a “Someday” list.

Once you’ve chosen the specific tasks you wish to accomplish today, write them in your planner and organize your list by context. Simply put your work tasks at the top, your home tasks at the bottom and any errands or on-the-go tasks in the middle of your list. Some individuals like to go a step further and differentiate their contexts by using different colored inks.

2) Categorize your tasks by urgency and importance

This is an important step because it ultimately determines the path of your productivity.

Categorize your tasks with a coding system, using letters and numbers:

  • Scan through your list and select items that absolutely must be done today. Assign those the letter A. Be sure to be selective here—these are strictly time-sensitive tasks that must get done today.
  • Review the list for tasks that need to get done and assign the letter B to those. While not urgent, B-level tasks include the most important steps you take toward reaching your goals. You must get them done, but you won’t suffer consequences if they’re not completed today.
  • Put the letter C by items that are neither urgent nor important. These are items you want to do, but they can wait for another day. C-level tasks are the expendable part of your daily plan.

3) Give your tasks order

Now, number your tasks. Number each task in an order that suits your daily flow. Take into consideration your own patterns of productivity, daily energy swings, anticipated locations, and how one task affects another.

As you complete your list organization, it’s important to keep in mind that new tasks will undoubtedly pop up as you go about your day. Use the A-B-Cs and 1-2-3s of your list as a decision scale for choosing where this new task fits in. For example, you may have to decide if returning a phone call (a “B” task) is more important than meeting a project deadline (an “A” task).

4) Follow through on your list

The final step in prioritizing your list deals with your own behavior as you go through the day. The best course of action is for you to honor the priorities you’ve assigned to your tasks. By being impeccable with your word, you will enjoy better productivity and balance in your life.

Let us know if this method of prioritization works for you, and be sure to include new tips of your own.

Get more tips on planning, organizing and productivity for every facet of your life by visiting the AT-A-GLANCE Success Center.


Back-to-school means you need to get organized

Tips to Get Families, Students Organized for Back-to-School…and Beyond

AT-A-GLANCE helps productivity prevail during the 2013-14 school year

The back-to-school season is underway, and the preparations taken for getting back to the classroom are plentiful. To help with this transition, the planning and organizing experts from AT-A-GLANCE® have compiled tips for families and students of all ages.

“All the talk about back-to-school typically revolves around shopping for supplies and new clothes—and the costs associated with them,” says Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce and Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands. “However, the true cost of this annual endeavor is time and how it’s lost due to lack of proper planning and organization.”

To help families and students get through this process in a productive and efficient manner, AT-A-GLANCE suggests taking the following steps Continue reading

Prioritizing Your Tasks Can be as Easy as ABC and 123

Prioritizing Your Tasks Can be as Easy as ABC and 123

Summer is typically associated with vacationing and enjoying relaxing free time for yourself and family. While this holds true to a point, this is also a season that presents multiple ongoing tasks, such as yard and garden work, home maintenance and improvement, and attending events ranging from youth sports to family reunions.

And with back-to-school season upon us, it’s noticeably obvious that you have a lot of things to do! But do you know where to start?

Below are the steps to making a powerful list that will offer you confidence that you are doing what you need to be doing, when you need to be doing it. Continue reading

Are Your Priorities in Question?

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

Prioritizing your tasks is essential if you want to accomplish your goals on a daily basis…and beyond. But like most to-do lists, every item is high priority in the owner’s eyes. So how do you determine which tasks are most imperative to accomplish?

You can start the prioritization process by asking yourself these five questions: Continue reading

Use the 80/20 Rule to Put Time on Your Side

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

The old saying goes, “Time is Money.” However, anyone who’s ever struggled with time management knows it’s much more than that. Time is your life, and therefore, properly managing your time should equal a well-managed lifestyle.

One of the keys to good time management is harnessing the ability to fulfill your goals and plans, both short- and long-term. An interesting element comes into play here known as the Pareto Principle. This states that, for many events, roughly 80 percent of the effects come from 20 percent of the causes. This 80/20 Rule, in terms of time management, implies that 20 percent of your “to-dos” account for 80 percent of your results.

If you apply this rule to your daily task list, for starters, you’ll be able to keenly focus on the most important and critical tasks at hand. You’ll also avoid getting bogged down or caught up in small, less important tasks. Most likely, this is already a part of your daily to-do list development and prioritization—or if it isn’t, it should be.

When looking at your task list, examine the items you noted as the highest priority. These items shouldn’t be more than 20 percent of your entire list. Another way to look at it—and help you identify your highest priorities—is to determine the items that contribute to the highest percentage of productivity in an hour of work. These are your primary areas of focus.

The value and importance of using the 80/20 rule is imperative to good time management. It’s impossible to complete every item on your to-do list every day. This principle helps separate the wheat from the chaff and makes the most out of your most valuable asset—time.

[photo by pshegubj]

Make it Specific, and Make it Fit!

By Lissa Cupp, vice president, e-Commerce & Consumer Marketing, ACCO Brands

The to-do list is a primary and vital part of the organization process that you strive to follow every day. When teamed with a functional, up-to-date personal planner and/or calendar, it becomes the driving force behind our actions throughout the day, be it at the office, with the family or during “me” time.

That same to-do list, however, can also be a barrier to success if not properly used and maintained. How so? We’ve all had those days when we look at our to-do lists and see a virtual manifest of actions that only a team of a dozen individuals could possibly complete. Likewise, many times your list contains items that are beyond your reach, too general to really accomplish and not action-oriented. Continue reading