eProductivity Weekly Tip: June 25, 2010   

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Weekly Tip: Prioritizing Your Work with the Today View (part 3)

How to prioritize your work can be a tricky issue! We're going to tackle it this week in Part 3 of our series on the eProductivity Today View.

If you haven't yet, make sure to read Part 1 and Part 2 of the series.
Priority Levels, Due Dates, and Follow-up Flags
Regular Lotus Notes gives several methods for assigning relative importance to your tasks and emails.

Regular Lotus Notes methods of assigning importance

The varios flag colors

While these methods work, the problem is they tend to create a rigid To-Do list that isn't very flexible, and that is key.

Most people's working environments are quite chaotic - new tasks and responsibilities stream in constantly, energy levels fluctuate, and priorities are forced to change frequently. So spending time to create a neatly ordered To-Do list with carefully assigned priorities can quickly turn into a time sinkhole because something unexpected will come along.

The net result is you spend more time on maintaining your system than you spend on getting things done.

Sidebar: The topic of using due dates is complex and beyond the scope of this week's tip. For now, let's just say that many people use due dates as "I'd like to" suggestions, as in "I'd like to get this task done by Friday, so I'll assign it a due date for Friday". The problem is this mentality creates a complex list of due dates that doesn't accurately reflect what actually has to get done by a certain date.

Used properly, due dates are powerful. If something must get done by a certain date, by all means assign it a due date. Just be wary of the temptation to assign due dates to tasks that don't really have a deadline.
The flexible Today View
Solving the need for a less-rigid prioritizing system was the inspiration behind the Today View. While eProductivity does support the use of priority levels and follow-up flags (and due dates, of course), we encourage you to use the Today View instead. The reason is that the Today View is far more flexible.

With the Today View, you can quickly flag items so that everything important to work on 'today' automatically shows up in one place.

Just as important, you can quickly clear out your Today flags...

The button to quickly clear all flags

So if your day suddenly gets altered by an unexpected responsibility, you can clear your Today View and start fresh with a single click. That is much easier than going through your various priority levels, due dates, and follow-up flags, and adjusting them all to reflect your current reality.

Until Next Week...
This week's tip might represent a different way of prioritizing your work for some of you. If you have thoughts, make sure to let us know by sending a tweet or a forum post!

Next week we'll share some closing thoughts on the Today View to tie this series together.

If you have a tip to share or a topic you'd like to see covered, please let us know. We'd love to hear from you.