Workplace: To Do

“Don’t make a to do” means to not make a scene that attracts attention and might cause embarrassment for a person, group, or company. Children sometimes say “don’t make a scene” when they see a parent about to launch into a “process improvement seminar” with an employee at a store, restaurant, or hotel. Maybe you’ve said it mentally, or even out loud, to a spouse, partner, or team member.

Another meaning for “to do” is in the arena of list-making. Most of us manage a project “to do” list at work and another one (or more) at home. Calendar-planner-system apps and companies exist because of people’s to do lists and a need to keep track of project timelines and meetings. Our to do lists drive our activities and goal accomplishments.

Meaningful to do lists include these elements.

  • Result. Examples:
    • Garage or warehouse cleaned.
    • Presentation for Board about rebranding.
    • Member education content ready for website roll-out.
    • Product ready for sale.
  • Timeline. Following the same examples
    • February 1, 2021.
    • January 4, 2021 for Board presentation on January 6, 2021.
    • January 15, 2021 at 1 p.m. central time.
    • August 2, 2021 for Holiday 2021 shipping.
  • Interim deadlines within the completion timeline. Every timeline, whether it is 24 hours or 24 months, has interim deadlines and checkpoints. It is often our failure to check in on project completion at multiple points during the timeline that causes projects to not meet delivery or completion deadlines. Using the Clean Warehouse or garage example.
    • Completion date: February 1, 2021. Interim deadlines:
      • December 30, 2020 – all Holiday shipping remnants recycled.
      • January 2, 2021 – all floor space clean.
      • January 6, 2021 – inventory shelving reorganization done.
      • January 15, 2021 – new inventory properly placed.
      • January 19, 2021 – all packing materials properly recycled/disposed of.
      • January ??, 2021 – detail of all other steps needed to be completed before February 1.
      • DONE – February 1, 2021.

When more details are added to our to do lists, we are more likely to accomplish the tasks in the hoped-for or mandated timelines. Things don’t get done when timelines are unclear; when people don’t have the knowledge or skills to complete the tasks; or when interim deadlines have not been met.

Each of us manages a mental to do list. When working with team members, our to do lists are typically shared lists of actions and accomplishments. When working with customers, clear communications about tasks and timelines and then on-time and accurate delivery builds relationships and referrals. Every day includes a to do list.

What’s on your to do list today?

How close are you to getting it done?

Time Management is the umbrella topic for “to do” lists and more. When managing time is an issue – an opportunity for improvement – contact Jana Kemp. 208-367-1701 

As the author of seven books, three of which are on use of time and decision-making, Jana has been interviewed by U.S., Canadian, and European programs, and magazines.

Workplace – the Blog: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. Together we can find working solutions.

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