As a kick-ass Supergirl you’re BUSY. Me, too. And when my to-do lists are overwhelming I go on the hunt for a new and/or better time management technique (not the most efficient path, but more on that later). Recently the articles all seem to be some variant of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done”. In the cubicle-land that I work in its safe to say at least 10% of the population has their Master To Do List with them at all times. Whether they carry a mead spiral bound, a moleskin or their blackberry, action items are duly recorded.
If you haven’t heard of Getting Things Done one of the characteristics
is to consolidate all of your to-do lists in one place. The very
simplified theory behind this is you 1) get peace of mind because you
always know where to look for your notes and 2) since you know what all
your tasks are you can make efficient decisions about what to work on at
any given time. The entire system of Getting Things Done is more
complex, I’m taking a moment to focus on the to-do list. I loved the
idea of consolidating my lists. At least once a month I leave my grocery
shopping list on the refrigerator or lose my homework assignments in a
textbook. Because I knew this system would work I went straight out and
bought a little notebook with a clasp and attached pen. Obviously the 25
other notebooks I have stashed around the house were not good enough.
The Master To Do List was going to streamline my life. And it worked!
For three weeks. Inevitably I would leave my cute little notebook in my
purse or somewhere equally inconvenient for scribbling a note to myself.
I have to admit, I gave up on the idea pretty quickly. Old habits die
Until I had a brainstorm. The sticky note. They’re everywhere. Work,
home office, kitchen, heck, I even have some in my exercise room (don’t
ask)… My brainstorm merges the best points of lazy note taking and the
efficient consolidated list. Wherever I may be I jot my notes down on
sticky notes. When it is convenient I pile them up and bring them to my
notebook. All my tasks end up in one place and they’re easy to organize
to boot. Priority change on a project? I’ll just move that sticky to the
front page. Need to make a couple of phone calls? Peel those stickies
out while I’m sitting in traffic and make the calls. Can you tell how
pleased I am with myself? And a pleasant side effect is my monitors
don’t have a multi-colored frame reminding me of how busy I am.