(Second in a series expanding on my rebellious notions on time management–See previous post "Rebel Without a Clock." Click the bulleted list below for other posts in this series.)
Today we explore the second step, COMMIT. So you've Captured information into your various capturing tools… now what? You have to review that information and commit to what you are actually going to spend time doing. It's decision-making time.
If Capturing is the "what," then Committing is the "who, why, when, where, and how."
- Why should this be done? Does it align with your goals and priorities? Many captured items will stop right here, as it does not make sense to take action on them. The information may not require any action at all, in which case you can file it away or discard it.
- Who should do this? Can you delegate or outsource this action?
- When should it get done? Is there a natural deadline, or do you need to create one? Is this something you can defer until later?
- How should it get done? Do you need to have an appointment on the calendar, or just list it on your task list? Do you need to arrange a meeting with someone else? Do you need to be accountable to someone to get it done? Are there any special tools or additional information needed to get it done?
- Where should it get done?
When you Commit to an action, you will have your own personal ways of signifying that. You may put it on your calendar, put it on a daily task list, move it up in a list, highlight it in a list or put a star next to it, put it on a sticky note, or start a folder to collect related information for a larger project. I cannot emphasize enough that you must do what works for you and your brain and your circumstances… don't feel like you must adopt someone else's prescribed system and do it perfectly.
Part of the process of Committing is taking the time to review the things you've Captured. I like looking at things daily if possible, and David Allen talks about the Weekly Review, which I agree is a fantastic habit. Fridays are a great day to have a Weekly Review, since you're closing one week and preparing for another, and Fridays are commonly a little slower in pace for many people. I like taking time each day to plan (Commit) for the next day, and time each week to plan for the next week.
Ultimately, Committing to tasks, projects and appointments is most effective when you have clarity on your purpose, your goals, and your responsibilities. You make much better decisions about priorities when you understand what you are working toward and why. And your Committed items may change from day-to-day, moment-to-moment, as "life happens"–you may get that emergency phone call that shifts everything. That is okay, as long as it's a true emergency and you're not just getting meaninglessly sidetracked. If you're clear on your purpose and goals, it makes those things easier to discern. As novelist Tom Robbins said, "Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach."
Next Friday we'll explore how to Cue yourself to remember to do the things you Committed to doing! What are your favorite methods for making decisions about your actions and projects? Share in the comments!
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