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Blog > Top Coaching Strategies for Managing Your To-Do Lists and Projects

Top Coaching Strategies for Managing Your To-Do Lists and Projects

Transform your operational efficiency and drive your goals to new heights
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As a busy professional, you’re likely managing a broad range of tasks and projects daily. There are the minutiae of the day-to-day, and all the while, you’re working toward greater career and team goals. Juggling both requires careful attention to time management. Otherwise, you could be overwhelmed with daily chores and to-do lists as you neglect broader project management or become focused on the big-picture goals and end up neglecting what must be accomplished in the current moment.

When thinking about challenges that arise when juggling to-do lists and projects, though, it’s important to consider what constitutes a to-do list and what constitutes a project. A to-do list is a compilation of tasks that are typically straightforward and must be accomplished within a short timeframe. A project, in contrast, is a series of related tasks aimed at achieving a specific goal, often requiring more resources, time, and cross-functional teamwork.

Professionals must manage both projects and to-do lists in harmony, for peak operational efficiency and strategic planning.

To help you increase your productivity, let’s demystify the subtle yet critical differences between these everyday tasks and overarching projects, and look at some actionable coaching strategies to enhance your task management, efficiency, and effectiveness.

What’s on Your To-Do Lists?

Regardless of the format—be it a physical checklist or a virtual list within your team’s preferred project management tool—or even if you don’t have a formal list at all, there’s always a set of tasks that need your attention. These are the essential duties that keep your team operational, typically carried out daily. Your to-do list is likely filled with habitual tasks that are critical due to their time-sensitive nature. While these tasks are necessary for the smooth running of your team, they may not always seem pressing, making them easy to overlook.

Common items on a to-do list can range from replying to emails to finalizing financial reports to participating in meetings.

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What are Your Projects?

Projects represent the expansive and overarching endeavors within your organization, characterized by extended timelines and numerous components. They are intricate initiatives that necessitate meticulous planning, allocation of resources, and teamwork. At the core of your team’s efforts, projects are the embodiment of your team’s mission, playing a pivotal role in fostering team growth and sparking innovation. They are the driving force behind the realization of your company’s strategic goals.

The nature of projects can vary widely across different sectors. For instance, in your industry, a project could involve the introduction of a new product or service, revamping client services, or implementing a new growth strategy.

While projects do require some level of day-to-day tasks, you might not be working on a project every single day, and projects typically come together over a very long amount of time — months or even years.

Coaching Strategies for Effective Management

As mentioned earlier, a common challenge when juggling to-do lists and large projects is the tendency to pour all your efforts into one at the expense of the other. This often leads to either your daily responsibilities or your larger projects suffering from neglect.

So, what’s the strategy to ensure that both your immediate tasks and significant projects receive the necessary focus?

One effective method is to adopt the MVP, or “most valuable priorities,” approach when sorting through tasks and projects. This strategy involves evaluating each task based on its potential impact and prioritizing them according to the expected return on investment (ROI) for the time, effort, and resources they demand. In essence, it’s about assessing the ROI you anticipate from completing each task. Those tasks that promise a high ROI should capture most of your attention.

Do you have trouble concentrating on these high-ROI tasks when things like digital distractions or colleagues popping into your office interrupt your workflow? Consider using time blocking to focus solely on those tasks — nothing else. Set aside time on your work calendar. Close your office door. Log out of your email or anything else that might interrupt you. You may just find that when you effectively block time, you’re so productive and efficient, that you have more time for those lower-priority tasks than expected, afterward.

Naturally, there might be a concern that by prioritizing your MVP tasks, the smaller, everyday details could be overlooked or abandoned. This is where the art of delegation becomes crucial. Mastering delegation is a skill essential for maximizing the impact of your work. To delegate effectively, it’s important to assign the appropriate tasks to the right team members. Then, it’s about empowering those individuals with the necessary tools and guidance to complete the tasks to a standard that meets both their satisfaction and yours.

As you plan out your day or week, consider using the Eisenhower Matrix to decide what you should work on, as well as what you should delegate. The Eisenhower Matrix categorizes tasks as important but not-urgent tasks (these tasks would likely be those related to your projects), important but urgent tasks (likely to-dos that only you can handle, such as attending an important meeting or signing off on some reports), less important but urgent tasks (daily to-dos that you might not need to complete yourself) and less important and not-urgent tasks (tasks that you don’t need to do, and that aren’t related to your project, for example).

You can often either completely remove less-important tasks from your schedule or delegate them. Then, you can allocate your time between important tasks and projects.

The Bottom Line

By understanding how to prioritize tasks, allocate time effectively, and harness time management strategies like the MVP approach, you’ll be well-positioned to transform your operational efficiency and drive your goals to new heights.

For more help enhancing your time management skills for both to-do lists and projects, schedule a free consultation call with an Arootah Executive Coach today.

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Disclaimer: This article is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be and should not be taken as professional medical, psychological, legal, investment, financial, accounting, or tax advice. Arootah does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or suitability of its content for a particular purpose. Please do not act or refrain from acting based on anything you read in our newsletter, blog or anywhere else on our website.

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