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Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part II

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” Keep it Current While you can and probably should track more than one next action at a time for each project (these are all the things that can be done now), it's vital to differentiate a true next action from any of the garden-variety items that just need to be done at some point later. In other words, be careful not to to turn your to-do list into an ad hoc project plan. Now, now, now Avoid the trap of littering your horizon with piles of crufty pseudo-tasks that can't actually be addressed (or, almost as often, can't be addressed yet). Remember: you should theoretically be able to choose any item from your list and, given the proper tools and context, start on the task immediately. Trim, toss, and refactor Why Am I Doing This Task?

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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.

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,

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. Create a to-do list 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: It had to be simple – I didn’t want a lot of options or stuff to fill in.

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.

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.).

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.

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. 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. Need to run errands tomorrow?

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. The files will get stacked somewhere else on your desk so you can sit down.

43 Simple Ways To Simplify Your Life Post written by Sherri Kruger. Follow me on Twitter. Simplicity. How can we make things simpler, more streamlined, or more efficient? Is this all just hype or is there actually something to this simplicity thing? Reducing complexity in my life has reduced stress, increased free time, and top priorities are actually top priorities. Dave Lee — Introducing the Week Chart Update: Thanks Lifehacker for picking up this post. (This is Part 3 in a series about My Productivity System.) In this post I’d like to share with you the Week Chart. It’s part of my recipe to keep focused and release incredible amounts of creativity throughout the week. Here’s what the Week Chart looks like this:

Are you really managing information overload? At the social media webinar I gave at the end of last year for the PMI LEAD Community of Practice one of the main themes coming out of the comments and questions from participants was how to deal with the extra information channels that social media tools offer. People generally seem quite worried about how to handle information overload, to the point that it creates a panic or stress and they stop using tools that could actually be quite helpful if they were only used in the right way. Graham Allcott talks about this in his book, How To Be A Productivity Ninja. It’s a time-management-y book but it’s really about how to get organised and stay organised. He says that information overload isn’t about having too much information at all.

Getting Things Done with Todoist (GTD) Many Todoist users use David Allen’s excellent Getting Things Done methodology (GTD®) to manage their life. The GTD method rests on the idea of moving planned tasks and projects out of the mind by recording them externally and then breaking them into actionable work items. This allows one to focus attention on taking action on tasks, instead of on remembering them. Read more...