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To Do List By Deadline


The To Do List is the most elegant tool to manage tasks there is. It can be as simple as a grocery list or as complex as the master plan for a complex project. There are a number of ways to organize a To Do List to make it most effective. One of those ways is by Due Date. It is a system that insures that things get done when they should be done. It helps us meet deadlines. If your work has deadlines, this To Do List will be your friend.

A deadline driven To Do List, sometimes called a Task List, is organized to insure that work gets done by predetermined deadlines. Tasks are assigned a letter or number that defines the period of time in which the work must be completed. This forces you to get the work done now that needs to be done now to meet those deadlines.

The ABCD Method

One useful way to do this is to use an ABCD designation: A is for tasks that must be done today; B is for tasks that need to be done this week; C is for tasks that need to be done this month; and D is for tasks that need to be done in the current quarter.

Let us say that your current task list or To Do list looks like this:

Return director's call

Plan project due in 90 days

Purchase tickets for the theater for this weekend

Plan your day

Prepare a report for a meeting in two weeks

Plan next quarter's budget

Sorting by Urgency

Now you apply the ABCD code to each task so they can be ordered by deadline like this:

A - Return director's call

D - Plan project due in 90 days

B - Purchase tickets for the theater for this weekend

A - Plan your day

B - Prepare a report for a meeting in two weeks

C - Plan next quarter's budget

Now you can sort that list by deadline like this:

A - Plan your day

A - Return director's call

B - Prepare a report for a meeting in two weeks

B - Purchase tickets for the theater for this weekend

C - Plan next quarter's budget

D - Plan project due in 90 days

Now you can proceed to work on your tasks in the order of importance based on when they are due. If something more urgent arises you can add it into the list with a more urgent letter code. If something can be postponed, you give it a less urgent letter code. No matter how long or complex your list is this system allows you to easily sort and resort it as the day proceeds to keep your focus on the most urgent matters to be done.

Try this method for a week or two and see how it helps you keep on track and get work done when it needs to be done.


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