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Essentials of Time Management #2: Commit Yourself

(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.) 

DaytimerpageMy opinion of the five essential components of time management:

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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11 Comments

Christine

Many people don’t consider how much time management can actually improve their lifestyle. When I started developing a better schedule I became less stressed and also my health began to improve as well. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing this with us.
Christine

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Bill Medifast

Commitment is a big thing, especially with time management. I’ve seen people develop schedules but never commit to them. This is a great post. Thanks for sharing this.

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Rachael

As a florist time management is something I have to be very good at. Without having a good ability with time management I wouldn’t be able to get through any of my days.

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Maura Thomas

After 6 years in business, I finally wrote a business plan. Evaluating actions as they relate to that plan is a great way to ensure I’m getting the important stuff done. Thanks Lorie!

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Bruce Frauman

Two more words that mean the same as”commit”, but add somewhat to the concept are “intend (intention) and promise.
I recently thought about my life and all my commitments and responsibilities, and pared it all down as much as I could. Then I e-mailed a close friend that this is what I intend to do. There is a strength and force to the word I like. She is printing my note and is writing her own intentions.
Also, instead of setting a goal, make a promise to yourself that certain things will get done.
All the same idea, but different words connect to people in different ways.

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Martha

Great post! I think of reviewing my ‘captures’ and strategizing my time as self care. self care (just had to say that again!).
…AND thanks for mentioning to pay attention to what styles might work best for all phases of this process. I just discovered that I love to ‘capture’ electronically and then use paper and pencil to plan out. It doesn’t fit as well to do it elsewise.

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Heather

I recently thought about my life and all my commitments and responsibilities, and pared it all down as much as I could. Then I e-mailed a close friend that this is what I intend to do.

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Carrie

I just discovered that I love to ‘capture’ electronically and then use paper and pencil to plan out. It doesn’t fit as well to do it elsewise.

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Allison Clark

Thank you for sharing this post, this is really great and informative. Commitment is a big thing, especially with time management. I’ve seen people develop schedules but never commit to them.

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Abie

Yes! If you are committed with the time and schedule that you put on then you can do your work or extra time with other things.

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