To do lists are a declaration that we are busy. That what we need to get done is important and valuable. Nothing on the list is to be missed. That is why every to do is written down.
I have struggled with to do lists all of my life. Not the ones we create for the day or the shopping trip. The to do lists that I have tried to create to make me more effective and in control of my life. My goals & responsibilities laid out for the next week and for the month.
What I am slowly learning, once again, is that a to do list can’t capture too many things. And that it is not what I write down as a to do, but how do I setup a process ( a series of steps that are defined) to work through my list and then record what needs to be done next. For most things I work on are not one and then done but require more steps as I move closer to an outcome I am looking for.
So now I have one sheet dedicated as a brain dump page for making a list of things I need to do (both short term and long term) described more in outcomes than tactical steps. My goals belong here as well as my expectations for what I either need or would like to see happen. In my setup of a process, I can handwrite new things to the sheet and then update it weekly on a computer.
I have a second sheet for business development (finding new customers) and buying which are my primary business focus at this time. This too gets updated only weekly taking my handwritten notes from the week and typing them on the sheet to begin anew.
The third sheet is my next steps page. It is broken down simply by today/tomorrow, by the end of the week, waiting, or parking lot (steps that I will not get to this week). So it is much more time constrained as it outlines only one week. I scribble on it all day and then update is every night for the next morning.
I don’t yet know if this will work long term but already feel more comfortable and in control than looking at a to do list that is confusing and overwhelming.
It took me about 6 hours to come up with this rough design of a process around my to do list. This was tought work for thinking through why and how we do things is complicated next to simply doing something.
I am hopeful I have found a lever to make my efforts and days more productive. Having been down this path a little bit, finding a process or routine is far more important than carrying a piece of paper around all day that simply says to do.