developing a structure

my life has begun to change noticeably since I took that time management self management course. I find myself being more able to grasp the concept of to-do lists, for one. I used to spend most of my time decorating my to-do lists with fancy headings, borders and doodles. I’m guess I’m not really a list-maker by nature, so it definitely helped to have someone show me how to draw up a good to-do list—especially figuring out what goes on one! Here are some clues I picked up:

  • Sort tasks by priority levels A, B, C—A tasks must be done today or tomorrow, B tasks within the next five business days (i.e., within the week), C tasks have later due dates. this was the key concept for me—high priority means “it gets done sooner”.
  • Further sort the tasks within each level, so you have an A1, A2, A3… and B1, B2, B3… No two tasks can share the same priority level.
  • Some tasks can be broken up into sub-tasks, which may have different priorities. For example, if someone calls you about an upcoming meeting, the call-back should have high priority (A: reply within the day), but you might not need to do anything about the meeting until next week or later (B or C).

So far, this system has been working well. I’ve actually split my tasks into several different to-do lists: one for personal items, one for Baha’i service and core activities (i.e., children’s classes and so forth), one for work projects, and one for long-term items in case I get really bored (this last one also helps me remember things that I want to make sure I do eventually, even if I put them off repeatedly). I must say that Google‘s personalized homepages are helping me out big time with this; I’m using the heck out of the To-Do List widget and Google Calendar. It feels like I’m learning how to plan—groovy huh?

2 thoughts on “developing a structure

  1. yeah I tried it, but it couldn’t do multiple levels of priority or sort items within each level of priority. plus, I don’t feel as comfortable with having to set dates on a lot of my tasks – I prefer to have floating lists that I can pick from day by day. I dunno. As I said, I’m just learning, so once I really get the hang of this stuff I might find a tool like RTM would be better suited to me.

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