Alexandre Aschenbach

Habits to avoid loosing time


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Missed deadlines, lost appointments, lost opportunities ... very annoying!

How to keep everything organized so as not to miss the deadline?

I have, over the years, learned a way of not letting anything pass. It's simpler than you imagine, but it helped me a lot, and today I will share this simple but effective idea with you..

Read to the end, do not be discouraged because it seems like child's play, but I guarantee you it will make a difference.

If you already have your own technique, read on anyway, you may find something else that could help you but, if you do not have your own technique which ensures that you meet deadlines, if you are used to forget things and suffer the consequences, then read on and follow my example.

Remember that the most brilliant solutions are usually the simplest.

Few, but all important points:

1 - Only one thing cannot wait: the annotation.

That's right, everything can wait, only one thing must be done immediately: the annotation.

When we return from a meeting or turn off the phone usually our brains immediately begin to organize themselves for the next task, or else we try to concentrate on the task we were working earlier, or still there are cases when we already have another person awaiting for us.

If at that very moment we do not stop for just a minute and take notes of the activities that will be needed to resolve the issue addressed at the meeting or telephone call we will, for sure, forget something.

This is the first step and cannot be forgotten. Please note: If you skip this step, then everything else in this article will be inefficient.

2 - Make a mental plan

The activities noted deserve a mental plan. But what would that be?

This plan is a small mental schedule of what we must do to ensure that deadlines are met. This is not a full schedule, only a small initial idea of what we should do to fulfill the activities.

An example will be good here.

Imagine these three noted activities:

  • Buying new computers for employees who will start work in 30 day’s time.
  • Schedule a meeting to discuss the new accounting project.
  • Prepare a presentation of results for 15 days from now.

Okay, let's do the mental plan for each of these activities now:

  • Buying new computers

    • We know that the employees will start work in 30 day’s time. We know we need 10 days for computers to be ordered and delivered, , two days for the quotations and one day for approval and still two more days to prepare the computers.
    • If the 15 days are already in process, then we have a maximum of 15 days to start quotations.
    • Does the task require a safety margin? If so, say two days of margin, so our mental plan is that in a maximum of 13 days we need to start quotations for 2 days, have them approved within the next 3 days, so that we can take delivery of the computers within the allocated time frame which is within the next 10 days from approval.
  • Schedule the meeting

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    • The accounting project did not have a timeframe, but as soon as the meeting takes place, the better. And we need to reconcile the agendas. It's something I'll do early tomorrow morning.
  • Prepare the presentation

    • The presentation is in 15 day’s time, and I need at least four days to prepare it.
    • Again considering the safety margin, we allow an extra day.
    • There are five days to prepare everything, then we must start this task within a maximum of 10 days.

Pronto! Mental plans prepared. Write them down in simple terms.

3) Schedule your mental plans

The activities are noted and we already have the dates. Now we cannot without first scheduling the tasks.

According to our mental plan we have to set the flowing schedules:

  • Schedule meeting on accounting project: in 1 day
  • Prepare presentation: in 10 days
  • Quote computers: in 13 days
  • Approve computer purchase: in 16 days
  • Take delivery and start preparations of the computers: in 26 days
  • Deliver the computers in 28 days

Ok! All scheduled? Your day is over and you will not forget anything that happened today.

4) Start your day with a review

It is useless to write everything down, make a mental plan, schedules and not look at the agenda!

So the agenda should be open all day, but primarily the morning’s first task must be to check your agenda.

Remember first to see the activities that are planned for the day.

Write them down again on a separate sheet of paper.

Trace a horizontal line on your sheet of paper and now check what are the activities for the next day and the ones for the day after. Write them down also in order of importance.

Pronto! You can start your day.

Remember to carry this sheet with you, because it should be your guide for the day!

And during your day, do not forget the first item!

5) At the end of the day, analyze the results

At the end of the day make sure that all the day’s tasks were fulfilled, if so fine, otherwise take a new sheet of paper and write down the unfinished ones, they will be your first task for the next day.

Now go back to item 2) of this article and be happy!