Wednesday, November 26, 2014

My to do lists

I've been accused of being a very, even hyper-, organized person. Guilty as charged.

As a consequence, I have a system for everything.

Take my to-do list.

My systems all stem from Peter Bregman's system 18 Minutes. I choose 5 areas of annual focus. I might adjust or modify a few of these based on my job-related goals, but they are generally focused around 3 work projects, education, and family.

My version looks like this.

Then, I have 3 ways to track action items or other tasks to be done, to make sure I am completing the items in my 5 areas of focus.

1. Track in notebook 

In my work spiral notebook (yes, actual paper!), I write a minus sign next to each item that is actionable. I take notes in meetings and conversations related to work that will need to get done. After I finish or schedule the item, I cross it off to turn it into a plus sign. Every week or so I look through my notebook to ensure that I don't have any minuses left to take care of.

2. Schedule in calendar

For a short project, something I can complete in a couple of hours or fewer, I block time off as an appointment through my calendar, Microsoft Outlook. I integrate both personal and professional commitments in one calendar for my sanity's sake.

3. Phone task list

For something routine that needs to get done, such as an oil change, I add this as a reminder or task in my phone's task list. If I am feeling particularly busy I will even add reminders like catching up with friends here, so I don't forget to check in.

What systems work best for you to manage your time? Leave me a comment!

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