Each day, one of the first things I do is to prioritize my daily tasks list. When I look at my Must Do category, any tasks not completed yesterday will be showing up in a red font. I use an Outlook rule to do this and I am very focused and making sure I complete these as soon as possible. I then go to my Tomorrow category and change these to Must Do. I then look at the results I must deliver for the week and determine if there is anything else I need to do to make sure the results are on track. Finally, I look at any tasks in the None category and determine if any of these need to be complete today. The None category tasks usually come in from one of my other systems, such as the CRM, OneNote, or the Project Management system.
Then I begin to prioritize them. I have added a custom field to my Outlook tasks form that I call Prioritize. Tasks I am going to complete in the morning I prioritize as an A. Tasks I am going to do in the afternoon before 6, I prioritize as a B. Finally, tasks I am going to do in the evening I prioritize as a C. I then go to each of the A tasks and prioritize them as A1, A2, A3, etc. I do the same with the B and C tasks.
When I am complete, I have a fully prioritized list of all my tasks for the day. I then go back and make the Due Date today on all the Must Do tasks. Then I open up the calendar. In the Tasks Pad of the calendar, I have made a custom view that displays all tasks with a Due Date of today and both complete and not complete. This allows me to see all of my tasks for the day and the ones that are complete have a strike-through on them. I then mark in the times that I am going to complete the tasks. If I don’t have time to complete the tasks, I either re-prioritize it or I start moving meetings around. By the end of this 15-20 minute process, I know exactly how I am going to spend my day.
I am currently writing a little Outlook add-in that automates this process. It will allow me to first move into the ABC priority and then the A1, A2, A3 priority. If anyone would like to have this utility, let me know.