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Starting Your Work Day

Posted on: May 5th, 2015 by spablog No Comments

How do you start your work day?

On days when I remember to focus on the most important things, I pull out my lined notebook and write down the three to five activities that advance my work (sending an important email reminder, creating a project plan, compiling focus group data). I prioritize those activities and then do them, checking off each one as I go.  In contrast, I feel least productive when I forget to prioritize and instead do something like answer my emails first thing.

How do you figure out what are your most important things (MITs)? Stephen Covey provided a useful matrix that uses urgency and importance to categorize our daily activities from those that are both not urgent and not important to those that are both urgent and important. Interestingly, our most valuable daily activities tend not to be the urgent ones.  They are the Box 2 activities and they propel us and our organizations into more ideal versions of what we currently are.

Urgent and Important

(Taken from

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In terms of our work at MCTC, the most important things that support our long-term goals could include things like: include developing assessments that align with learning objectives, planning a timeline for an improvement project or meeting with potential long-term donors.  All of these activities take time, and are not necessarily urgent, but if we do them we feel better, the organization becomes better and we avoid the stress inherent in doing mostly Box 1 or Box 3 activities.

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