Here is something I am trying for 2010… I hesitate to call it a new year’s resolution, so let’s just call it an “experiment”. Sometimes it is tough to get focus with my big fancy fiddly collection of GTD lists. There are just too many items on the lists, and even when I filter on just the “next actions” the list is still pretty long. To gain focus, I plan to identify no more than three critical tasks that I want to accomplish in a given week.  Sort of a hat trick if you will. The screenshot below shows the template I am using each week. The template is available on the Downloads page.

I expanded the concept just a bit to cover two other areas where I wanted to improve. The first was *redirection*. I found that the majority of the meetings and conversations I had were not ones that I scheduled nor were they topics that I selected. As a result, a good percentage of the work I did during a given week ended up being external requests and/or tasks that I didn’t even know existed prior to the start of the week. To help shift momentum, I added another hat trick for “Agendas” to the top of the page. This list is for meetings or discussions that I want to drive during the course of the week.  Difficult conversations and project roadblocks are definitely candidates for this Agendas list.

The other area I wanted to improve was delegation. There are some good discussions on delegation in the Manager-Tools podcasts. The big thing for me is to plan ahead and identify what things should be delegated while there is still enough time to delegate them.

My suggestion is that you print out a stack of blank forms and hand-write them each week. Do not try to automate this or get too fancy with it. Simply think about it, write it down, and do it. The template is set up for a 5.5″ x 8.5″ notebook, but can easily be modified. I have also included a “stealth” version that you can switch to once you are comfortable with the format. This is for those who might think it’s a little dorky if someone were to look over your shoulder and see the detailed instructions and the exact description of what it is you’re doing.

So again, to regain your focus this year, think “3, 3, and 3″. Three critical tasks, three critical agendas, and three items to delegate. Good luck!

-Carl