Thursday, July 3, 2008

My Master "To Do" List

A colleague asked me yesterday how I manage my time. Time management is, of course, different for everyone, but I find it helpful to keep a master "to do" list. I create a spreadsheet in Excel with four columns, from left to right: Done; Start Date; Item; and Due Date. I then sort by Start Date and then Due Date. The items that I MUST do the current day are highlighted in yellow, and Top priority items for that day are shown in RED. I leave blank lines at the bottom to complete as new assignments come in. At the end of each work day, I review and update the list, printing out a fresh copy so I know exactly what I need to start on the next morning.

In addition, I often break larger projects or assignments into steps (schedule interview, conduct interview, type/transcribe notes, ask follow-up questions, write, edit, submit) and I schedule each of those separately on my "to do" list so I can anticipate how much time each step will take me. Scheduling an interview, for example, might only take 10 minutes, but typing the notes and writing the article could take hours for each step.

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