Skip to main content

Do You ‘To Do’?

A good friend, and colleague, of mine confessed the other week that he had only just started to use ‘to do’ lists. He was almost evangelical about the use of such a tool.

I thought that pretty much everyone uses a tool like this. I then thought about this for a bit longer, and I have met lots of different businesses that don’t capture all of the items in their working lives.

They may have a main system, such as MRP / ERP, but it’s the little things that trip them up. The promise they made to a customer, a report to print off for a senior manager, specific preparations for a meeting.... or whatever.

Being able to capture these items, process and prioritise them, and action them is a skill.

I have a feeling that a lot of people see just how much stuff is on their lists if they do compile one that they feel overwhelmed. Is discarding the list the same as ‘burying your head in the sand’? I think so.

If you have read my book ‘Office Productivity’ then you will know my views already on this subject. If you don’t use ‘to do’ lists and you feel overwhelmed about your workload then it may be worth (re)visiting the subject. Finding your own way to capture, purge, delegate and action your workload can make you more productive and certainly more effective.

Don’t fear the list – manage it differently.


Giles Johnston
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.

P.S. And yes, capturing items can include business improvement ideas for actioning later on!

Popular posts from this blog

Where to start with Kaizen, if you just aren't sure

Kaizen is a great word. It is a word that can unleash the potential of both a business and an individual. Kaizen means more than just continuous improvement. It is a word that is linked to: Confidence Growth Exploration Courage Many people I speak to, that are new to improvement projects, aren't sure if they are on the right path when it comes to embracing the spirit of Kaizen. If you are also one of these people then let me share with you a few thoughts that can help you feel at ease about starting and leading change. Start with your concerns A great place to start your improvement life is with anything that isn't right. Getting your concerns out into the open really is the first step for most of us. If you aren't happy with something, raise it. This isn't only a great place to start, but something that you shouldn't give up. Whenever a standard is not being met, or not even defined, get vocal and then do something about it. Start small The intention of Kaizen is

Stimulating Kaizen opportunities - the 'mechanical' way!

I often end up in conversations about how to stimulate Kaizen ideas and opportunities. If you have read my other posts, you will know that I split the improvement journey into two halves. For many people, the initial Kaizen focus is all around fixing things that are wrong / not working properly. Once you get past this point you need something else to focus and motivate you to generate improvement opportunities. The two halves of the Kaizen journey The discussion that I often end up in, is the one around the imagination quandary. People talk to me about not being creative, or not being inspired to come up with improvement ideas. Do you ever feel this way? It seems that there is a popular view that some people are creative and some aren't. Great Kaizen ideas are not just the product of 'creative' people. There are lots of ways that you can generate improvement ideas without having to sit on a mountain top cross legged waiting for inspiration. Finding a 'mechanical' w

Kaizen projects: being honest about being off track

Projects, especially improvement projects, have a tendency to get off track. There is often a clear distinction between projects for customers and projects for ourselves. If our improvement projects fall behind then our customers won't be barking at us; it is no wonder that if something is going to slip it is our Kaizen endeavours. For some people this can be a tough conversation to have. No one wants to be a 'failure' and pride often gets in the way. In my experience it seems that it is believed to be far more credible to ignore the requirement to improve than to admit that we aren't making progress. So, if you find yourself (and your business) in this situation, what can you do about it? Let me share with you two options to increase the visibility in your business around progress with projects and four options to help get your projects back on track. Increasing visibility Ok, no more hiding the status of Kaizen activities . This also means no more being precious about