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Time management - Information collection part 2

Information collection part 2


For our purposes here we mean any task requiring more then one step. In private life this could be arranging a holiday, sorting out a will or decorating the bedroom. In a business environment it could be recruiting a new team member, organising an office move, preparing for an important presentation.

In the grander sense it could be part of a major strategic company project.
Tackling this is covered in much more detail elsewhere [see ‘The Complete Project Management package’] and [see 'The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2'].

Under our current definitions a multi step task will take longer than ‘5 minutes’. So, in that sense we have ‘delayed’ the task.
We need to put this task in the diary as for those below.

Delayed tasks

We have 2 sections of ‘delayed’ tasks.

  • Items that originally required no action and were put to one side. These items although unimportant at present may be useful at sometime in the near future. These are not ‘urgent’.
    To tackle these we need a system to look at them at regular intervals. We need a review point to check on their validity.
  • The other tasks are those that required action but were put on the back burner because they were not easy to complete rapidly.
    Remember these have been defined as 1 step activities.
    These will be tackled when all of the ‘5 minute’ tasks are done.
    These are ‘urgent’ tasks in that they must be completed in the near future.
  • Either they can be completed by the end of the day.
  • Or they will become a diary entry as an appointment, or an action for a particular day and time.

Delegated tasks

These tasks are still your accountability.
You will need to monitor and control these by review and progress reports.

Processing the information

This is covered in more detail elsewhere, see 'processing the information'.


The sort of information we are considering here tends to be that which is arriving in a regular fashion, usually in a work environment.
However, you could take this approach to a grander scale. If you recognise that everything must be tackled, for example, crowded drawers, the attic, the garage etc you may want to get everything together ahead of the sorting process. However, the sorting process is the same whether you have 20 items in an in-tray or 500 personal effects to get organised.

The next step is to decide what to do (action) once you know the purpose of the information, see ‘processing the information’.

Non - PRINCE2 information