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Blog: Office Productivity
Is Your In-Box Your To-Do List?

When you sit down at your desk and open your computer to check your email, do you start your day with tasks that evolve from your email messages? I have to admit that I have done that a lot. By the end of the day I wonder why I didn't accomplish other projects that were more important. Sound familiar?
I have had to work really hard to break this habit. When I begin to check the email messages, my intention is to look at them quickly to see if there are any messages that I can answer quickly. Of course what happens is that I soon am answering more than one message and five minutes turns into an hour.
I have heard it said not to check your email first thing in the morning and I agree with than suggestion, but curiosity gets the better of me and I interrupt one of my most productive times of the day.
Here is my anecdote for this problem and when I follow it myself, I am much more productive. The key is to PLAN your day ahead of time. I have a great planner that I love to use because all of my information is in one place. At the top of the pages for one week I write the categories of my responsibilities such as Writing, Advertising, Calls, Meetings, etc. On the next set of lines I write the to-dos for each of those categories. In the bottom third of the pages I write the times of my appointments.
I try to make this master list of planning on Sunday night or at the latest on Monday morning. It gives me a great sense of peace and fosters less anxiety when I know what is ahead of me each week. Of course there is the occasional interruption that throws off the list, but what I don't accomplish one week gets put into the list for the next week.
Another benefit of using this system to create your to-do list is that you will have a written record of everything. I often look back over the previous week and review projects to see if I missed anything. I also use the list to add the mileage to a pre-made chart for income tax purposes.
If you are interested in purchasing this wonderful planner, you can only get it at www.plannerpad.com. I get no commission for telling you this, but this is one of the best planners I have ever used.
Try this suggestion for a week and see how productive you are compared to using your in-box as the to-do list. If it works, use it forever.

posted on: 8/8/2010 1:30:00 PM by Barbara Boone
category: Business

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Office Productivity

by Barbara Boone

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About Barbara:

Barbara Boone is the owner of Productivity Solutions located in Cockeysville, MD. She provides office organizing for small businesses and helps them to create and implement a productive environment so that they can be successful. Her focus is paper management and file set up to help clients reduce stress and increase productivity. She has been organizing in the fields of education and business for over 36 years. Barbara is a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers and Director of Professional Development for the Baltimore chapter of the National Association.

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