Are you drowning in little pieces of paper, notebooks and expensive planners- but still feel like you are swimming upstream? With so many commitments in our daily lives, it can be really stressful trying to keep your life afloat. Watch this video for some relief- the lifeline is on the way!
(Click here to watch on YouTube if you can’t see the embedded player. Or watch the video at http://bit.ly/tcdtodo2.)
Hi. I’m Lorie Marrero, creator of the Clutter Diet book and on-line program, and today we’re going to talk about how to make sure no task falls through the cracks. The key is setting up a task list that works for you; the best way for your brain type, for your lifestyle, your job, and everything. So there is not a right answer. We talked about this last week. We looked at electronic vs. paper methods of keeping a task list. You can have all kinds of infinite ways to do this, so I wanted to give you a few more considerations today about how to set your task list up so that you can be successful.
First, I need you to think about not just having one task list, but having two. And that would be a master list and a daily list. So a master list is a capturing tool. It’s a way to get everything out of your head and on paper or in your system so that you can see it all in one place and you can make decisions and prioritize it because it’s all right there in front of you. Also nothing will get away from you that way. You’ve got a place to put that. So that’s all there. And then on a daily basis, and certainly on a weekly basis, you need to review that master task list and pull what are the top priority items to actually work on right now. So every day, think about the top three to five most important things that you must do today and write those down. You can use a post-it note or whatever works for you, but make sure that you’re clear on those top priorities so that you can take action on those first.
Okay, now let’s look at how you sort your information, because this is a place where people get stuck. There are a lot of decisions to make in this area of task categorization. You can sort by when it needs to be done. You can say, “These are today’s tasks,” “These are this week,” “These are this month,” and so on. And that works really well for lots of people. Or you can sort by categories of context or type. So all of your calls could be listed together, all of your errands, all of your discussion items with a certain person. They can be categorized together as well. How do you know what’s best for you? Think about your life. Do you travel a lot? What kind of demands do you have on you? Where are you going to be when you need to access this information? And what question are you going to ask yourself when you need to access it? Is it more about what day it is and what’s due? Or is the question for yourself more about where am I? What do I have access to? Do I have a phone? Is it quiet enough for me to make calls? How do you need to pull that information together for yourself to be able to be most effective? So thinking through that is going to help you understand how to categorize and sort your particular task list. And if you have an electronic version of your task list, it’s easy to sort and do all kinds of different ways and switch back and forth.
What I want to warn you about is keeping it simple, because you don’t want to have too many decisions. Every decision you have to make is another place where you can get stuck. So if you’re stuck on due date, categorization, prioritization, and all those things for every task you write down, you’re going to write your task down very slowly and have to think really hard about all of them. So, keep it simple if you possibly can.
Also, you might want to have a category called “Future” where you capture all those things that you might want to do someday. So if you want to buy tickets to a Bonnie Raitt concert or whatever it is, write that down. Next time she’s in town maybe writing it down will help you remember to buy those tickets. But right now, it doesn’t need to be on your active list.
Then you also want to make sure you write your tasks in a very strong way so that your brain can take action quickly. So use strong verbs for the first word. So “Call Susan,” “Write the report,” “Research for the project,” but use those strong verbs so that your brain immediately knows what you actually need to do when your read that later.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips. Please share with us what works for you in the comments. And we’ll see you next time. May you always be happy and grateful for having more than enough.
You may have been searching for tips to create a functional task list or getting through a to do list without being overwhelmed.