Writing Wednesday: Categorized lists

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I am a big fan of categorized lists. I don’t work well when all my tasks are in a jumble on the page. I need to see what I need to do for work separate from what I need to do at home, and what I need to do for myself separate from what I need to do for my family.

In the photo at left I’ve shown some of my real-life categorized lists, shown in the weekly list boxes of my Minister weekly planner. I mentioned this method in Monday’s post and wanted to expand on the theme.

You can see I separate my lists into Work, Personal, Family and Home. Having separate lists allows me to focus on the task at hand. When it’s time for work, I sit down and crank through my work list. When it’s time for home chores, I look at my list and get through those. I put an asterisk next to priority items so I know to do those first. I note any deadlines with the day they are due.

I prefer having my categorized lists in my planner (instead of in a separate notebook) for two reasons:

1) This allows me to write it where I need it. I write tasks directly on the planner page of the week when I need to do the task. I don’t capture it on one list and transfer it later (which I might not get around to doing, causing the task to slip through the cracks). Writing it where I need it eliminates processing time.

2) This also allows me to see my tasks next to my schedule, so I can see what I need to do and when I have time to do it. This prevents me from overtasking any particular day and allows me to use my time effectively.

There are several time management methods that recommend using categorized lists. I’ve also seen tips recommending one task list, which I never understood. I guess having one big list is better than none at all, but it doesn’t work very well for seeing your actionable next steps.

Do you use categorized lists? What categories do you use?


One thought on “Writing Wednesday: Categorized lists

  1. I’ve been using categories or context codes on my task list, for almost a year, and find that I get more done that way. Running master lists tend to get overwhelming, thus ignored.

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