Checklists, To-Do Lists, Apps, Working Out Loud … The list of tools and methods to manage ourselves better and more efficiently seems endless these days. And yet we regularly find ourselves feeling like we’ve accomplished “nothing” after a long day at work. How can that be?

While the working technique or choice of tool used varies according to the job, project or work type, there are some similarities:

1.) It always turns out differently than you think. Take Steven Covey’s approach to planning only part of the day and leaving enough room for the unexpected. According to him, only 40% of the day should be firmly scheduled, of course, depending on the activity and frequency of customer contact, this is not always possible. But deliberately leaving 20% of the daily or weekly agenda free , can already bring relief.

2.) Eat the frog first. Eliminate unpleasant tasks first. This sense of achievement in the morning will give you drive and motivation for the rest of the day!

3.) Done List. Everyone knows about to-do lists. They often lie around threateningly on our desks. Instead, you should keep a “done list”, jotting down all you’ve done. That way, you can see in the evening what you have done. This not only gives you a good feeling but also helps you to analyze what you spend most of your time on.

4.) Just do it! Does a task or e-mail take less than two minutes to complete? Then best do it directly instead of picking up that task again.

In the next issue we will deal with the great whole of self-management in daily business, the important and urgent things.


The original version of this article appeared in German in the magazine “Die Wirtschaftsfrau”.