I have had lists, lists of lists and lists in lists before. I have used list applications and list reminder services and even project management software that kept my lists, shared my lists, and emailed todo items to me.
I always come back to the same problem: My lists keep growing and I never feel like I am getting anything done.
So, after reading this article and how he has his daily meeting, I decided to try something new. I don’t do a daily meeting with myself, but if I did I wouldn’t be telling YOU about it, that’s personal. I already talk to myself enough, both awake and asleep (just ask my wife, she’d be happy to tell you hilarious stories).
This sounds uber complicated. I will show you what this looks like after I explain it so that you are really confused before you get it. It’s like every time you did something new at school, except this time there’s no midterms. What I have done is created a list in Evernote of the things that I want to get done everyday, along with sub lists of things that I have to or want to get done on specific days. Then I have a list for each “category” of my life.
Ok, I understand that was confusing. Just forget what I just put in this previous paragraph.
This is what my “everyday” todo list looks like, as well as my “specific days” lists:
- Every Day
- Morning (Before 9am)
- Straighten up the desk
- Look and see if any Birthdays are coming up, make cards and send them
- Read 2 articles in Evernote
- Work on [project name] project for 30 mins
- Look for small items on Personal list that can be done in 5min or less
- Social Media – twitter, facebook, empire avenue
- Do stuff for extra-curricular projects (Ignite, meetups, etc)
- Post something to Twitter for work
- Work on any blog articles for work that are on the todo list
- Middle of the day (the meat of the day, 9-3pm)
- Do Today’s Daily List
- Make sure I’m prepared for all schedule calls
- Update all the records in our database with status changes
- Clean up work ToDo list
- Put together a list of people to follow up with
- Check email
- Sourcing and Follow up from People to Contact List
- End of Day
- Look for Biz Dev and Process todo items, finish these up
- Look at Personal To Do List for tonight – what can get done?
- Inbox Zero every day
- Work ToDo List < 10 every day
- Morning (Before 9am)
- Morning meeting for work
- Check extra-curricular project’s email accounts
- Balance company budget sheets
- Put together weekly summary for work
- Finish summary and send
That is pretty easy and gives me a good outline of what I have to do that day. It also allows me to get SO MUCH done before I even touch my email. This is super important, because I will spend all day in my email sending and replying and not getting anywhere through the rest of the stuff I need to do.
Now, my “category” specific lists are pretty straightforward. I have a list for work, a personal list for home stuff, and a list for the meetups and orgs that I work with. This helps me to ignore (not stress on) the lists that I don’t need to be working on, while getting things done on the lists I do need to be working on.
Like I said, all of this is in a single Evernote, but all the stuff I don’t work on during the day is at the bottom (personal and orgs lists) so that my everyday and work lists can be at that top and in focus.
I have been more productive throughout the day and have actually gotten pretty far on my personal project as a result because I spent 20-30 minutes on it everyday.
Notes: Inbox Zero everyday is a goal, it is not something I actually accomplish. Also, having my list less than 10 and inbox zero are conflicting goals most days. So, I feel good if I get one done. I get worried if I get both done.
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