Creating Working Lists for Professionals

When working on specific work projects, good time management habits may consist of properly creating your lists of activities and work priorities. Below are 3 ways in which you can do so:


Many people feel more comfortable seeing their lists divided up between personal and professional projects. If you’re among them, be advised that your “Personal” list will need to be reviewed as judiciously as your “Professional” one, and not just saved for weekends. Many actions on personal things will need to be handled on weekdays, exactly like everything else. And often some of the greatest pressures on professionals stem from the personal aspects of their lives that they are letting slip.

Delegated Projects:

If you’re a senior manager or executive, you probably have several projects that you are directly responsible for but have handed off to people who report to you. While you could, of course, put them on your “Waiting For” list, it might make better sense to create a “Projects Delegated” list to track them: your task will be simply to review the list regularly enough to ensure that everything on it is moving along appropriately.

Specific Types of Projects:

Some professionals have as part of their work several different projects of the same type, which in some instances it maybe valuable to group together as a sublist of “Projects.” For example, a life coach could maintain a separate category called “Projects to Deliver,” a chronological listing of all the upcoming seminars, coaching, and consulting assignments he has committed to. These events are “projects” like the rest, in that this life coach will need to keep noting whether things are moving along on and in place for them until they’re completed.

If you are a real estate agent, sell consulting services, or develop proposals for a relatively small number of prospective clients in any profession, you will likely find it useful to see all of your outstanding “sales relationships in progress” in one view. This could be a separate list in your planner called “Client Projects in Development,” or if you already have file folders for each in-progress project, it may suffice to group them all in one file stand on your credenza. Just realize that this approach will work only if it represents a complete set of all of those situations that require action, and only if you review them regularly along with the rest of your projects, keeping them current and conscious.

2 Tips For Easy File Management

1. Keep Your General-Reference Files at Hand’s Reach:

Filing has to be instantaneous and easy. If you have to get up every time you have some piece of paper you want to file, you’ll tend to stack it instead of filing it, and you’re also likely to just resist the whole in-basket process (because you subconsciously know there’s stuff in there that might need filing). Many people I who have been coached have redesigned their office space so they have four general-reference file drawers literally in “swivel distance,” instead of across their room.

2. Have Lots of Fresh Folders:

I keep a giant stack of fresh, new file folders instantly at hand and reachable from where I sit to process my in-basket. Nothing is worse than having something to file and not having an abundance of folders to grab from to make the process easy. At any given time I want to have an inventory of almost half a file drawer full of unused or reusable folders. Rule of thumb: reorder when the number drops below a hundred



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