… This is a continuation – for previous post, click here
In my previous post I spoke about using To Do Lists and my search for strategies to make them work for me. Talking about this reminds me of a time about 15 years ago when I had a job implementing new computer systems for a software company, and one troublesome implementation in particular.
As you can imagine, not everything went to plan and loads of problems occurred in the first few days of use. After too long flitting about from problem to problem and not really getting much done, eventually I realised that the only way to get through the problems was to make a list, prioritise it and deal with the issues one at a time.
When new problems emerged I simply added them to the list (frustratingly for the individual concerned) and addressed them when I got to them. This proved to be a very effective way of working and I believe I can use this system now with a few simple rules.
Rules To For Effective List Use
- Check the list at least once a day, first thing each day, adding new items and re-ordering according to any changing priorities. Be wary if priorities seem to be changing on a day to day basis.
- Work through the list one issue at a time, remaining focused on the current action point.When something else comes up that needs addressing, add it to the list in the appropriate priority, then continue with the current task.
- Ignore the distraction of tasks that are not in the list. If it’s important, put it in the list. If it’s not, it doesn’t need doing.
- Don’t be afraid of re-prioritising, though be very (VERY) wary of leaving the current task to do something else. It may be required occasionally but if it happens frequently, there’s something seriously wrong.
Lists Work (If You Work Them)
So far (so far since I actually started considering this, that is), these rules seem to be working for me. At the top of my list at the moment is my 2019-2020 tax return, which I’ve been working on today. Alexander, my over protective fixed mindset alter ego, is not happy because he hates doing tax returns, but he’s grudgingly working with me to get it sorted.
Paper or Electronic
Some folk I know use a pen and a notebook, then have the satisfaction of ripping the page out of the notebook at the end of the day when all tasks are completed. Others, like myself utilise technology; There is lots of time management software available such as Notion and Trello but personally I just use a “To Do” template in Google Sheets. If you’re working as part of a larger team you may need something that gives the whole team access.
For prioritising tasks on my digital lifestyle journey Google Sheets works just fine. It’s very simple to use (I like simple), and access it on my smartphone or at my PC.
Click here to find out how you can if you’re interested in creating your own digital lifestyle.