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Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part I

Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part I
Since new folks visit 43F each day, I thought it might be valuable to return to one of our most popular evergreen topics to review some "best practices" for keeping a good to-do list. While a lot of this might be old hat to some of you, it's a good chance to review the habits and patterns behind one of the most powerful tools in the shed. Part 2 appears tomorrow (Update: now available). (N.B.: links to previous posts related to these topics are provided inline) Why bother? In my own experience wrangling life's entropic challenges, some of my best gains have come from maintaining a smart, actionable, and updated accounting of all the things I've committed myself to doing. While you can argue for the flavor and approach to task management that best suits your style (and your personal suck), it's hard to disparage the benefits that come from getting task commitments out of your brain and into a consistent location. Anatomy of a To-do Break it Down to the “Next Action” Let's Get Physical

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Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part II Conclusion of our two-part series on improving the quality of your to-do list. Yesterday's post covered some basics and whys, the concept of the “next action,” and the importance of physicality. « Start with yesterday's “Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part I” A Case for Singletasking: The One-Task-At-a-Time Method One man's thoughts - To Do Lists are great when they are not longer than what you can do in a typical day - for the most part, and assuming that at the end of your day you review what has been and has not been accomplished and prepare your Tomorrow's To Do List in advance. As to multi-tasking, the reality is that multi-tasking is just slicing up your time into a string of short periods of concentration on different subjects, and each time your brain moves from one subject to another it is required to refresh histrical data in order to process new input - thus those who are trying to "multi task" are in fact using up some percentage of their processing power in a constant refresh mode - which may be requirement of their environment - not good, not bad, just fact. Slicing up time and allocating mental resources to various tasks is driven in part by the nature of your day, your work, but also your own definition of accomplishment. Kind Regards,

Whining, Blue Smoke & the Mechanics of Getting Unstuck I've been working on a bunch of (non-43 Folders-related) stuff lately, but I started feeling that hankering to come back and write something new here. To get the engine started, I went through some old posts and turned up a few (oddly self-inspiring) ideas that I want to re-share. The topic? 5 simple ways to stop procrastinating We all procrastinate every now and then, and for me it’s become a bad habit! As my work pile stacks up, I find myself putting things off for the next day and then more work piles up and it becomes a vicious cycle! It’s even harder when you work for yourself and are responsible for your time management. Recently I decided I was going to stop this nonsense and therefore I came up with my simple ways to stop procrastinating and start NOW! 1.

Course of Actions - Task Flow Mapping Your Day One of the things I’ve found when listing out tasks and actions, is the difficulty of organizing a list into a logical flow. Most of my day is filled with tasks that I need or want to complete in a specific order, and I wanted a simple way to map out the flow of my day. When I set out to find a way to do this, I had several criteria in mind: Clean Out Your To-Do List for Guilt-Free Productivity This is a great article. After trying different methods I find having 2 'to do lists' really works. The 1st list is a must follow list, which is broken down into what to do today, this week and this month, it covers routine requirements with space to add ad hoc extras as they arise e.g. phone client etc. Having one eye on the month as well as the day, means that if a day is light (I wish) then I can accomplish some of the weekly or monthly tasks. Keeping my real 'to do' list focused on 'must do' tasks means nothing gets lost (hopefully). You are so right that the to do list is not a dumping ground.

How to Start Using Procedure Checklists for Flawless Task Execution I've been using procedural checklists for household based chores ever since I realized my family members were refusing to help on the basis they didn't know what to do. Now when it's Chore Hour (something we do every other night in my house), I pass out a laminated sheet to each person with his/her cleaning task. At the top of each sheet is a list of cleaning items they'll need (microfiber cloths, glass cleaner, vacuum, etc.). They grab their items and begin at the top of the list, marking each item off with a crayon as they go. By the time they're done the room's spotless, and both they - and I - know nothing's been overlooked. You'd think that I'd have these routines down by heart since I'm the one who wrote them, but I don't.

» 9 Mindfulness Rituals to Make Your Day Better “Smile, breathe and go slowly.” - Thich Nhat Hanh, Zen Buddhist monk Post written by Leo Babauta. Are you simply moving through your day, without fully living? Habits of a Professional Organizer - Things Pro Organizers Do Every Day The jury's still out on whether organizing pros are born or made. Tova Weinstock is hedging her bets on the latter. And, the professional organizer says making a few tiny changes to your day is all it takes to get (and keep) your house in order. "It's important to take baby steps when getting organized, otherwise the process can feel daunting and overwhelming," Weinstock explains. Here are her nine essential tips to get you started: Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

How to Finish Your Work, One Bite at a Time “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” If you’ve ever ran more than a few miles, you probably understand why you need to pace yourself. Runners that sprint at the start of a race will be exhausted far before they cross the finish line. The same principle applies when trying to get work done. One solution for pacing my work that I’ve found incredibly effective is maintaining weekly/daily to-do lists. 8 free (or almost free) tools to organize your life You can write all the to-do lists you want, but if you keep losing those scraps of paper, they’re not much help. So we rounded up eight easy ways to move your lists beyond pen and paper. Each website meets our requirements for contact-info disclosure and customer service, and all have free apps so that you can go mobile. Best for list haters: Think of this as the anti-list; it can look more like a Pinterest board than a roster of chores.

3 People You Need to Train to Use the Inbox When you get to your desk, is there a message slip on your keyboard? Maybe a Post-It note on your monitor? Perhaps a stack of important files on your chair? Each of those piles of paperwork needs your attention, but there’s not exactly any order to it. » Best Procrastination Tip Ever Post written by Leo Babauta. Your first thought as you look at this article will be, “I’ll read this later.” But don’t.