Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How to ‘maximize’ your To-Do list

The To-Do list is a tool that keeps you on track to achieving your goals. With so many demands on our limited time, it is of utmost importance to have a good To-Do list. As you know, many books have been written on the subject of time management. This article focuses on using a To-Do list to improve your efficiency.

Time Management

A To-Do list provides many benefits. The most important is that it
keeps you focused and organized. Here are a few concepts to keep in

• A To-Do list is made up of things to do and people to call. It is a critical addition to your calendar, which shows you the times allocated to meet people or to do tasks that have to be completed at a certain time.

• A To-Do list is a daily activity in itself. Before you open up your e-mail in the morning, review your To-Do list. Since responding to e-mails eats up valuable time, it is wise to start prioritizing your day with your To-Do list first, rather than checking your e-mail inbox. If at all possible, plan tomorrow's day before you leave work the day before!

• A written To-Do list is better than nothing. When your To-Do list is part of a Customer Relationship Management or Contact Management application, it can increase your efficiency and effectiveness by a factor of 10!

• A computerized To-Do list will carry forward what has not been done and allows you to decide if these tasks are important today.

For Maximizer CRM Users

You do not need to rewrite your daily To-Do list (called Hotlist in Maximizer), which can lead to errors in transcription or omission if you forget to transfer something to the new list. Until you have checked an item on your list as done (called "completing" the item in Maximizer), it will remain in your Hotlist. Of course, you can always delete the activity if it is no longer relevant!

Figure 1: Make sure that "Carry forward unfinished activities" is checked in Setup Tab > Preferences Icon > Calendar /Hotlist tab

You can prioritize each task the way you want, using "1, 2, 3…" or "A, B, C…" If a task is time sensitive, perhaps to call a client that you know prefers to be called in the morning or afternoon, you can set the time for the task and add an alarm.

Figure 2: The Add Hotlist Task form

When creating a task, you can decide whether or not to attach it to a contact in your Maximizer CRM Customer Relationship Management database. If attached to a contact, you never have to look for the name, phone number, notes from previous conversations, etc.: all contact information you need is a click or two away. And a note is entered by Maximizer automatically when a task is added as a cross-reference. Quite the time saver!

The default Hotlist sort is by the first column, Date. Like other Maximizer lists, it is easy to sort your Hotlist by clicking on the column heading. Now you can sort your Hotlist by order of priority … or any other field!

As you mark activities as completed, a pop-up form asks you if you would like to schedule a follow-up, either as an appointment (Calendar) or as a Hotlist activity. These reminders can be for today, next week, next month … or even in a year or more! What freedom this provides, knowing that, when needed, you will be reminded of all the things you have to do!

If you all users have Full Access in their Preferences > Calendar/Hotlist tab, tasks can be also be assigned to other Maximizer users (see Figure 1).

For cross reference, Maximizer CRM automatically enters a note in the client or contact notes area as soon as a Hotlist task is added, reassigned or a change is made.

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