I bet you have made a to do list or two in your time. They can be a very helpful planning tool. They can also be a mamouth, unwieldly, pressurising reminder of how far behind you are.
Here are Five tips to help you Tame your To Do Lists and make them work for you.
It' s that New Year Feeling again when the slate feels clean and I get the urge to write on it everything in the world that I might possibly want to do next year. The good thing about that is that no one will ever accuse me of not living life to the full. The bad thing is that I get frazzled from trying to cram everything in and tired from staying up 'just another half hour'. And worse, as the year goes on I get down on myself for not achieving very much because I naturally have a forward looking gaze and so focus on what I still would like to do rather than what I have already achieved.
This is a problem because it is not just in one area of life in which I have a wish list longer than Heathrow's runway. There are multiple areas in which I want to learn and excel and cram in expereinces. I have so many books/ magazine/ websites I want to read, so many tasks to do, so many places to go. It's a problem.
But, there are few time management problems that cannot be alleviated by the clever use of a Filofax. So I have made three small tweaks to my planner system this year.
First, I have introduced the concept of Focus Topics.
Time Management books tend to focus on tasks. On culling emails, on filing systems, on taming interruptions to meetings. They are about scheduling jobs, planning steps to be taken, organising paperwork. They make me tired just writing about them. The assumption is that good time management is about how we do what we do and how to do it fast.
Sometimes good time management is about planning to do nothing much at all.
Let me give you an example. Yesterday I knew I had to do a lot of work on this blog. If I was to keep up my intended posting schedule and everything else I had to do in life I needed to sit down and write a dozen or so posts. I had a system of notes and Filofax inserts and Evernote notebooks. I knew what to do. But I was feeling pushed along and I didn’t know what to write about.
Many writing books say to put your butt in a chair and a screen and keyboard in front of you and get to work. A good second step. But my first step was a little different.