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I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. J. K. Rowling
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Auditing Your Time Management

One of the essential parts of the Do It Tomorrow system is the auditing procedure. You need to go through this whenever you get behind on your Will Do list for more than 3 or 4 days. Miss out on doing this and the entire system will collapse. Carry it out properly and your work will reach new heights of focus and effectiveness.

The DIT system has the great advantage that it preserves the link between the amount of work coming in and the amount of work going out. This means that it is easy to see what the problem is if you are having trouble keeping up with your work - much more so than with any other time management system I am aware of.

Remember that the aim of DIT is to get everything done. If you are going to get “everything” done, then it is essential to keep under close review what “everything” consists of. The most common failure in time management is to fail to keep “everything” focused enough with the result that you don’t have a hope in hell of getting it all done.

If you carry out the DIT auditing procedure properly, it will virtually automatically ensure that you keep focused. That’s not to say that it may not present you with some tough choices or some tough confrontations, but you will be quite clear what needs to be done.

Although the auditing procedure works best with DIT, it is also effective with other time management systems - or none at all!

This is what the procedure consists of:

1) Have you got too much work?

2) Are you working efficiently?

3) Have you left enough time to do the work?

Every problem with time management is caused by at least one of these. Often of course all three are involved. Of course, it’s not enough just to carry out the audit - you need to do something about the answers as well!

What I am going to do over the next few weeks is write about each of the three stages of the audit procedure. As I write each one I will link back to this article.

Related Discussion:

When the “Free” Time Gets Booked

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Reader Comments (4)

Hi Mark, read the book DIT and loved it, I try to put as much in to practice as I can.

Great to see the thought process at work on a to-do list: your post yesterday said "not finishing the list for a couple of days is no cause for concern as long as one catches up within 3 or 4 days."

Today's follow-up was "One of the essential parts of the Do It Tomorrow system is the auditing procedure. You need to go through this whenever you get behind on your Will Do list for more than 3 or 4 days..."

Classic self-reflective example!
March 1, 2008 at 0:58 | Unregistered CommenterJudd Muir
Hi, Judd

The point is that we are aiming to action one day's incoming work per day *on average*. Incoming work is unlikely to exactly balance outgoing work on any given day so it's not a cause for concern if we fall behind for a few days. However if we fall behind for more than a few days, this would indicate that the balance has been disturbed.

Maintaining this balance between incoming and outgoing work is essential because when we are on top of our work we get a huge energy boost.
March 1, 2008 at 11:09 | Registered CommenterMark Forster
I look forward to reading the posts on completing an audit. I am currently over 20 days behind and the backlog I'm working through was created when it got to over 90 days!

I think I am seriously suffering from too much work!
March 2, 2008 at 9:50 | Unregistered CommenterKate Davis
I have been stressing the energy that comes from being on top of your work - so do everything that you can to get into that position!
March 2, 2008 at 12:56 | Registered CommenterMark Forster

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