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Is your door always open? Do you pounce every time the phone rings? Do you work without a to-do list? No wonder you’re not getting anything done.kzenon/Getty Images/iStockphoto

Start your week by trying the "3/4 method" for setting priorities recommended by productivity blogger Thanh Pham on the Day Timer blog.

First, set out three priorities for the week every Monday morning. He stresses there is no magic formula for determining your priorities; just think about which activities will have the biggest impact on you, your team and your organization. Once the three priorities are established, break each one into four components:

Name: Each priority should have a distinct name that you and co-workers can refer to; if you lead a team, it may be the priority for your subordinates as well as yourself.

Reason: Specify the reason why you want to accomplish it. "This acts like a verification process to ensure that you have selected the right priority. If you can't come up with a reason why this is important, you most likely have chosen the wrong priority," he writes.

Process: State the rough plan for achieving the desired outcome. This doesn't need to be a detailed 40-step plan, but a rough idea of how you will act on the issue.

Defined result: Write down what the end result will look like. He urges you to be very clear, so you will know when you are done. Otherwise you'll keep adding things that seem to be related and be trying to hit a moving target.

Special to The Globe and Mail

Harvey Schachter is a Battersea, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online work-life column Balance. E-mail Harvey Schachter