Do you ever feel like you have so much to do and not enough time to do it? If so, you are probably in the majority of the population. Whether it’s work or household responsibilities, there is always something to do.
You might have tried all kinds of different productivity techniques to get your workload under control, but still found yourself falling behind. However, if you want to improve your time management and tasks, the Commitment Inventory could be your answer.
How does the inventory of commitments work?
The Commitment Inventory is a task management tool that helps you manage your time more effectively. It’s simple, although it does require a bit of planning to make it work. Essentially, you create a categorized inventory of all of your commitments and decide how much time to allocate to each part.
The inventory you take can be job specific, in which case you’ll be writing down all of the different types of tasks you do in the course of your job. This could include administration, marketing, project A, project B, and meetings, for example.
The idea is to calculate how long, in percentages, it takes you to get the job done in each category at a good level. If you find that your total percentage exceeds 100%, you will need to decide what to remove from your inventory.
The Commitment Inventory shows you exactly where your time needs to go and why you aren’t able to do it all. It helps you let go of your responsibilities and allows you to focus on what’s possible and important.
Create a list of commitments
To get started, you’ll need to create a list of commitments, which should be categories of tasks that you perform. It should be a comprehensive list and include everything you need to do for your job. You can create a separate inventory for family life responsibilities or combine it with your job.
Trello is a great app for generating your list because you can produce tables with multiple lists and display them side by side. To get started, do the following:
- On Trello, at the top, click Create> Create a table.
- Name your table and click To create.
- Click it Title from your first list, type “Commitments” to rename it and press Enter on your keyboard.
- Click on Add a map to create a new category, for example, administration.
- For each category, you can write in the Description of the card what tasks are included in this category.
Now that you have your list of commitments, you can start calculating the percentage of time you will need for each. Don’t worry about the total percentage at this point; write right next to each pledge how much time you reasonably need to get it right.
Once you’ve done that, you can add up the percentages and find your total. This is where most people find their total exceeds 100%.
Be realistic about your time
The law of percentages dictates that 100% of your time is the most you can give. If your commitments demand more than that, there’s a good chance you are performing poorly or just simply not getting things done.
As such, you will need to decide what needs to be removed from your inventory, so that you can perform well and manage your time properly. Removing items from this list can be difficult, especially if it means giving up on a project or saying no to people. However, it is necessary to be realistic about what is possible on any given day or week.
You might want to delete work tasks that:
- You can delegate easily.
- Are additional responsibilities for which you do not have time, that is, specific projects.
- Are not required.
To delete cards on Trello, hover your cursor over the card, click the button Edit icon and select Archive. Keep doing this until your commitments take up 100% of your time.
Use your inventory of commitments for task management
Once your inventory of commitments is complete and ready to use, it’s important to stick to the deadlines you have assigned for each commitment. This can be done easily by setting tasks based on each engagement.
For example, let’s say you’ve spent 15% of your time on administration, which includes checking emails, writing notes, and writing meeting minutes. Therefore, administrative time should only take up 15% of your working hours, not including breaks.
You can manage this seamlessly on Trello using the board you’ve already created. You can create a to-do list on your Trello board by clicking Add another list. For each task (card) you add, you can select Edit> Edit Labels and choose a color to represent each of your commitments. This way you can track the time you spend on each one.
If you schedule tasks in your calendar, you can easily manage this by setting categories on your digital calendar. On Outlook, you can do this by selecting Categories on the ribbon and on Google Calendar, simply right-click on your event and select a color to represent that category. This will give you a clear overview of your week and how it compares to your inventory of commitments.
Over time, you may notice that you need to adjust the percentages. This could be because you’ve been too generous with your time, or not enough. In this case, re-evaluate your inventory and make the necessary changes.
Tasks under control
With an engagement inventory, you’ll have a much better idea of ââhow you’re handling your workload. This will help you prioritize your responsibilities effectively. It’s easy to put the pressure on yourself to do it all, but the reality is, no one can do it. Instead of trying to put it all in, take a step back and look at what’s in front of you.
Put limits in place during your work week, and you’ll be better able to carry out the responsibilities that matter most. Not only that, but you will have concrete evidence of where your time is spent and be able to make the necessary changes.
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