Saturday, May 30, 2009

just do it!

As a Virgo, I'm a big fan of organization. I also have a tendency to get overwhelmed with my perfectionisms (I don't think that's a word, but it should be: a combo of mannerisms and a perfectionist's attitude).

Today, I'm tackling the art and science of writing a "to do" list. Btw, I love that there is an "art" to it; in fact, there's an art to anything as long as you desire to work creatively. :)

says think of your "to do" list as a list of instructions: if the instructions are clear, specific, and easily executed, you're golden. The instructions should be written in such a way that you don't have to do any additional thinking once you've read them. It's the planning up front that does the thinking for you; Lifehacker says 90% of doing anything is the planning.

Make sure you differentiate between projects and tasks. A "to do" list is not the place for projects that require a lot thinking or are vague in description (Ex. write a research plan). To make it on the list, these projects need to be broken up into tiny, smaller tasks (Ex. Write background, write, objectives, write target audience, write topics to discuss, etc).

Use specific, active verbs. Inspire yourself to work with creative terms of action: analyze, create, write, develop, organize, etc. Note: if something's been on your list for a long time, break it down further or re-word it to get the energy going. 43 Folders says the best trick here is to simply phrase your task in a form like: “verb the noun with the object.”
Consider, for example, how an oversized to-do like “Prepare the big presentation” might be improved upon by zeroing in on the physicality of a first step like “Draft four ideas for our presentation’s theme.” Where the former task provides no purchase for a sensible ascent, the latter gives us a fat handle for getting started with something that already feels familiar.
Well, I hope this has helped some of you. I know it's certainy given me some food for thought when writing out my next "to do" list or revising my current one. Make items actionable, make them tasks and not projects, break it all down into bite-size bits, use the right verbs, and start getting things done. Just do it!

Because only you hold the power and responsibility for defining your work. (43 folders)


Paul McEnany said...

Well, shit dude! You're dialing up a post storm of late! Good!

erin said...

i find I can be a lot more creative, productive, and inspirational OUTSIDE of work. not good. :P

Dennis Demori said...

Hey Erin,

You might wanna check out Toodledo if you prefer organizing your tasks online instead of Pen and Paper. I've been using it for a couple weeks and it's awesome.