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Strengthening Your Day-to-Day Responsibility Ability

Strengthening Your Day-to-Day Responsibility Ability

When you're good at day-to-day responsibility, you effectively handle the daily tasks required to run your life. For instance, you stay up-to-date on bill paying, errands, and other household chores to keep your home life running smoothly. At work, you develop reliable systems for organizing projects, dealing with phone calls and emails, and maintaining important records.

Day-to-day responsibility, while decidedly not glamorous, enables you to carry out the crucial activities in each arena of your life. Thus this ability is essential to success. The following strategies can help you enhance your day-to-day responsibility.

  • Read a book on the subject. Potential useful titles include Getting Organized: Learning How to Focus, Organize, and Prioritize by Chris Crouch, The Agile Manager's Guide to Getting Organized by Jeff Olson, and Getting Organized at Work by Kenneth Zeigler.

  • Take a self-paced online course on the subject. Examples include the "Managing Your Time" and "Managing Projects" modules in Harvard ManageMentor, an e-learning program developed by Harvard Business School Publishing. Online learning courses often introduce key concepts related to the topic, provide hands-on practice in related skills, and offer helpful tips and tools. Your employer may have a site license to such courses that you can access through your company's intranet. You may also be able to purchase individual CDs containing modules of interest to you, or download them from the Web for free or for a small fee.

  • Consult an expert. Find someone at school or at work who you view as particularly effective at managing day-to-day responsibility. Ask this person how he or she has improved this ability.

  • Attend a workshop, training session, or course on related subjects, such as getting organized and managing your time. Your employer may offer some of these, or may be willing to fund your tuition if you take such a course. Your local adult education programs may also offer such courses and workshops.

  • Set up organizational systems. There's a wealth of tools out there for organizing your daily responsibilities – from planning software and calendars to personal digital assistants and filing systems. Decide which of these work best for you, then use them to get (and stay) organized. Less can be more: a system that's easy to learn and use may be more useful than one that has all sorts of flashy technological features but takes weeks to master.

  • Know when to get help. If you're simply not able to handle the daily aspects of carrying out your job or other responsibilities, delegate them or hire someone to deal with them. Even bringing in a "clutter expert" for a few hours to help you get organized can be well worth the cost and time.

  • Chip away at daily tasks. Recognize that the more you avoid handling daily tasks, the more they'll pile up – and the more daunting they'll become. (For example, it's a lot easier to take a minute at the end of each day to file paperwork than it is to wait until the stack of paper has reached towering proportions.)

  • Designate time each day to handle the little details. For instance, commit to devoting a half hour every morning before starting work to organizing your day – your priorities, what sequence you'll do them in, and so forth. Or set your computer alarm for 10 a.m. every morning, then use the next half-hour to return emails and phone calls.

Taking care of the daily details required to run your life may not strike you as particularly enjoyable or satisfying. But if you ignore these details, you risk getting so mired in chaos that you'll lose your ability to focus on and carry out your many more important job, family, and home responsibilities. For this reason, it's worth the effort to try your hand at some of the practices outlined above.