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Get Things Done

Getting Things Done comes in three main steps

  • Goal Setting

  • "To Do" Lists

  • Handling Paperwork

Goal Setting

  • Analyze the problem

  • Learn to use your hours to your advantage

  • List your goals on paper

  • Add specifics (dates, amounts, etc.)

  • Review your list, make sure you really want them

  • Divide the goals into long term and short term goals

  • Add a column of the tasks to move you towards the goals

  • Set deadlines

  • Keep your lists visible and active

"To Do" Lists

To Do lists come from three sources

  • Routine tasks

  • Circumstance

  • Other people priorities

Write down all of your To Do's, then edit the list

Remember the 80/20 rule: 20 percent of the things we do produce 80 percent of the results. The other 80 percent produce 20 percent of the results.

Identify the "Critical Few" by dividing your list into the following

  1. Urgent and Important

  2. Not Urgent, but Important

  3. Not Important, but Urgent

  4. Not Urgent, not Important

  Important Not Important
Not Urgent    

Identify your "Prime Time"

  • Increase your prime time with physical fitness

    • Nutrition - increase your fresh fruit and veggie intake

    • Exercise - the amount is not as important as the consistency. Benefits last about 48 hours, so be consistent.

  • Protect your prime time with a verbal indication

    • Ask the receptionist to "please hold routine calls for the next hour" but never ask the receptionist to lie for you. The receptionist should respond to routine callers as "____ is in but is on a special project and asked not to be disturbed".

  • Protect your prime time with a visual indicator

    • Close your door a bit

    • Use a "flag"

    • Put up a sign

  • Minimize interruptions

    • Analyze interruptions and eliminate the ones you can

    • Get caller ID and/or privacy manager

    • Delegate work effectively, first thing in the morning

    • Meet in the office, it gives you more ability to end the meeting

    • Set an appointment for a later time, state "in the meantime we can pull together more information on____"

    • Ask how much time are they going to need and hold them to it

    • Be aware of non-verbal messages

Handling Paperwork

  • Analyze your files, eliminate the unnecessary files, forms and documents

  • Handle each piece of paper once, avoid paper shuffling

  • When you sort your in-box consider the 3D's

    • Do it

    • Delegate it

    • Ditch it

Avoid visual distractions

  • Keep stapler and tape in a drawer verses desktop

  • Keep only one bottle of white out (if any)

  • Turn your desk so your view is not the traffic pattern

  • Create a slush file -a drawer or box that consists of stuff that we may need someday, too important to throw away, but not important enough to file. Go through it occasionally, but don't try to organize it. The main benefit of the slush file is it gets it off your desk and out of sight.


  • Avoid clutter (anything unrelated to the current task)

  • Respond by phone, fax or e-mail verses sending a letter, or

  • Respond by making notations in the margin of their letter

  • Cut down on junk mail, ask to be removed from their mailing list


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