Hi, my name is Aaron, and I’m addicted to lists. I love making lists, I love using lists, I tend to live my life by lists. I have been this way for most of my life. I’ve used to do lists to manage my tasks for a while now, so you can imagine I’ve gone through a lot of different “systems” for creating and using to do lists. I’ve read a lot of books, tried different tools, and made changes along the way. Right now, I’ve come to a system that seems to be working really well for me, so I thought I’d share it with you.
Three Steps to Getting Everything Done
- The major list – It all starts with one major list. Once a week, usually on Sunday, I sit down with a pad and pen and start making my major list. I start out by dividing it into three categories, based on my areas of focus: scrapbooking, school, and home. From that point, I start listing EVERYTHING I need to get done. Some people call this the “brain dump.” I sit and think about anything that I may have on my plate for each of those areas. I look through my email, check my calendar, and usually go through my other notes and such. Usually this is a long list, and that’s how it should be. Even if there is something small to do, or something that is ongoing (curse you laundry!), I add it to the list.
- Due Dates – Once the big list is done, I sit down and start putting the due dates on all of the tasks. If the task doesn’t have a due date, I create one that I feel is reasonable. There is some flexibility with the due dates I come up with, so if I have a big project due one day, I won’t assign any other tasks to be due on that day. After I get all of the due dates figured out, I enter them into my calendar. I choose to use Google Tasks and Google Calendar together, so when I add a task to it’s due date, it automatically goes onto a task list.
- The Daily Check In – Now that I have everything on my task list, I check in on it each night. So right before I go to bed, I look at my calendar and task list and see what is due the next day. I start a small list with those tasks. I try to keep my daily lists to four or five tasks. If I don’t have any due the following day, I look ahead. This short list of tasks will be the list that guides what I do on the following day. Â I’ve found that by keeping this daily list short, I don’t get as overwhelmed as I used to.