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Bill Farquharson

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Time Management is a Bag of Flour

We are all in the unfortunate habit of turning one task into two, two into five, and five into ten. What we need is a practical way to manage all of these great ideas that pop into our heads during the day. In this week's Short Attention Span Sales Tip, Bill Farquharson offers one up.

Good morning!

Time management is a bag of flour.

You are sitting at your desk performing a task of some kind and an idea comes to you. You write it down. Getting back to that task, you are reminded of a thought that came to you while you were driving earlier in the day. You write it down. The day’s production meeting starts and new procedures are introduced. That means you’ll have to put some time into learning a new workflow system. You write yourself a reminder.

This kind of innocent activity is common for most of us. Seemingly by itself, a task list grows until there’s no more room to write on the piece of paper. Suddenly, you are buried in to-do’s, each an additional mental burden.

While you are able to whittle away at some of these add-on tasks, you feel frustrated at the end of the day because you did not get to any of the original priorities you had established while planning your day.

Think of this scenario as a bag of flour dropped on the floor. At the center of this kitchen disaster, there is a pile while all around in every direction is a cloud of white. In the end, only the mess in the middle is in any way salvageable. But you can’t get to it until you clean up around it.

Look, there is nothing wrong with capturing these fleeting thoughts before they whisp away, but we cannot let them derail our day as they do. Go ahead and write them down but keep them separate from the day’s agenda. With very few exceptions, nothing is as urgent as it seems. Most of these wayward thoughts can wait.

Let them.

Work your task A-List as you would normally. That will give you an important sense of completion before you move on to List B.

And hand me the broom, will you? There is some clean-up to do.

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