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Check your list

If you’re looking for a quick fix to your productivity woes, the answer may lie in something as simple as a pen and pad. Writing down a plan for the week ahead is an effective way to help you to turn down the noise and stress that tend to accompany a full life.

A weekly strategy session comprises three straightforward steps.

1. Stop the buzzing. The first step in turning down the noise in your head is to evict the tasks buzzing around your brain.The purpose of this step is to get those to-dos out of your head and on to a piece of paper where they can be objectively evaluated. Star or otherwise highlight tasks that you believe are critical.

2. Reconnect with the big picture. Effective time management is about accomplishing what you really want, not accomplishing more. Start with the roles you play, making sure to get beyond just your job to include all the parts of your life that make you feel energized and whole. After you have listed your roles, ask yourself, “What is important for me to accomplish in this role this week?” The first time you do this, you might be surprised at how lopsided that original laundry list of to-dos you jotted down was.

3. Map out your priorities and set them in stone. Grab the starred items from your laundry list and the key tasks you identified for each of your roles and start scheduling time on your calendar to complete them during the week ahead. If you find you don’t have enough hours in the week to do everything, identify which tasks can be delegated.

– Sarah Welch and Alicia Rockmore,