Note the details

Post Comment

Image via little blue hen

I keep a running to-do list on my desk at all times, in a cheapo Steno notebook that has a vertical red line down the center of each page that splits it into two columns. I use the left-hand column for work-related items, and the right-hand column for errands.

In general, my list of tasks is pretty big-picture — prepare a couple of posts for this blog, for example, or research an article I’m writing. It gives me a good overview of what I’m working on at any given moment, and helps me make a mental calculation about what I need to be doing with my workday. It also doesn’t typically look unmanageable, which is something that helps me stay both happy and productive. If my to-do lists get too long, I get anxious whenever I look at them, and lose time and emotional energy worrying whether I’ll be able to get everything done.

When I get really busy, however, I find it impossible to keep things from slipping through the cracks if I don’t get more granular: find the photograph I need to illustrate my post on the ABP/1, say, or email Mr. So-and-so to schedule an interview. Usually, at that point, I start a whole new list that’s separate from my big-picture overview, and balance that piece of paper on top of the other notebook, or fasten it with a paper clip. I still struggle with the issue of being overwhelmed, but that’s a lot better than overlooking some task because I’m too harried, and adding even more stress to my life.

How detailed are your lists?

2 thoughts on “Note the details

  1. I have weekly lists that are divided into the three big categories of my daily life (right now, Art, House, and Job). I use the Quo Vadis Minister, so they are in my planner. When I schedule a time to do one of the tasks I write it in the time slot of the day it’s planned for. (And I cross it off once I actually do it!)

    Then I keep project lists in a way similar to GrannyKass — though mine are currently “floating” so I can move them from week to week in my planner or take them over to my studio table.

  2. I make a project task list that I keep in the notes section of my planner and then as I need to get a particular step of that project done I write it onto my weekly planner page on the day I need to work on it. Then I go back to the note section for that project and check it off the list then look to schedule the next task. If I have a deadline, then I schedule the whole project onto days when each step must be done to meet the deadline.

    It’s a process I learned from the Franklin Covey people although I currently use QuoVadis Septanote which is working out great for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.