The Hawk-Mo Hotwire

Micro Entrepreneurism, Simple Living & Art

The Future of My To-do Listing

I’m not sure if its actually true or not, but I feel like I’ve been writing a lot of posts about being busy, having lots to do, and doing lots. And if I haven’t been writing about it a lot, I have most certainly been thinking about it a lot.

I’m an avid to-do list maker, a trait I inherited quite honestly from my mother. I love them so much, that I have a whole notebook dedicated to them. Thing is, I’ve been letting ’em slide lately. Just when you’d think I’d be on to-do list crunch time, I stop making them. I get irritated by the fact that certain things keep lingering. Pesky tasks I never seem to cross off one list, so they just get added to the next. Over and over until I’m finally so tired of looking at them, that I retire them, still uncrossed. This has always just made me feel like a bad to-do lister, which is why I stop to-do listing. Whats the point if I’m not gonna cross everything off right?

The point is to organize the mental bullshit so that I can get on with getting things done. Which I know, which is why I write the to-do lists in the first place. But tonight it was pointed out to me by various commentary I read on the book Getting Things Done that the reason I quit when the going gets tough, when I could really benefit from them, is because I’ve been writing them a little too free form.

All things on a to-do list are not created equal.

A fact, that I might have lost site of. And I most certainly have never taken into account when trying to write and manage my to-do lists.

There are the things that I can directly accomplish, others that depend on other people playing nice. There are things that just can’t be done in one day, and others that can be done in less then a minute. There are things that I want to do, and I want to remember to do, but they aren’t a priority RIGHT NOW, they are an eventually item. These all deserve to be treated differently when writing a to-do list where actually actionable items are key to the success of the mission.

So tomorrow, I’m getting out my notebook, and I starting to-do listing again. First step: have more then one list.

I’m thinking there will be a “Today” list, a “This Week” list, an “Ideas” list, and an “Art/Writing/Friends” list. I’m already thinking the Ideas list might get too big, in which case I’d have to figure out how to break it down further in a way that makes sense, without getting too cumbersome. Four lists seems like plenty, although, I do already write things in more then 4 different places, and that doesn’t make me insane in the least. I quite like my morning journal, my pocket size ideas journal, my blog, my sketchbook, my evening journal and the occasional typewriter rant for good measure.

Based on this random realization that I miss my to-do lists, and I want them back, and not just one, but many, I think I might have to admit to being a member of the land of Geekdom. Anybody with me on this one?

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About mudly

Mud is main blog writer extraordinaire, picture guru, and the garden and adventure instigator. She loves to cook, but doesn’t much like following a recipe. She also loves typewriters, the color turquoise, and wearing tie dye with stripes. And she dorks out on permies.com while dreaming up and planning her next garden.

2 comments on “The Future of My To-do Listing

  1. Josh
    April 14, 2011

    I’ll join you in Geekdom, and raise you one by suggesting you go digital for you next to-do list.

    Advantages: depending on the form factor (iPad, iPod, Smart Phone etc.) you choose it could be extremely portable and something you’d take most everywhere with you anyway. Digital lists are easy to update and re-organize by priority as priorities change. You can mark things as complete and still keep them in the list so you can easily look back and see what and when you got something done. You can often times sync them with an online service making your list available from most anywhere. Depending on the software you can attach notes. You can create multiple lists and move items between them if needed. And so on…

    On the other hand, there’s something about inking it out on paper that feels real, and vinyl records are making a comeback!

    But mostly your today list seems like the best idea, my to-do list is ever growing but I tend to focus more on what I want, need or have to get done today and then start on tomorrow’s list if I can. I’ve seen some recommendations to make sure your today list contains 2-3 things that are guaranteed success, it’s been shown that repeatedly failing to accomplish anything on the list eventually ends up discouraging you and deterring you from keeping a list in the future.

    Either way, Good Luck!

    Have a great day!

    Josh

    • mudly
      April 14, 2011

      Funny that you mention going digital – I woke up this morning and wrote my morning pages about how excited I am about my new list organization, and went on to realize that I had unconsciously sort of already headed in that direction using digital stickies on my desktop to remember the random things that flit through my head throughout the day. They were getting too long though, so I cut and pasted them into Word docs and saved them in an ideas folder, and then gave the stickies official headings with blank slates so I have fresh space to keep writing in. I figured it was worth trying to formalize a system that I already seemed to use. That said, it never even occurred to me that there would be websites and apps and such that might make this even grander! That definitely makes the geek in me giddy with excitement! The possibilities are endless! I will be looking into that shortly – but not till later, as there’s no way that’s going on the Today list, I’m writing it in now on the This Week list. Which, by the way, are both still pen and paper. I’m split. Half digi, and half old skool. Lovin’ it 🙂

      Thanks for writing and giving me some ideas and joining me in to-do list Geekdom!

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This entry was posted on April 13, 2011 by in It's What I'm Thinking About Right Now and it Doesn't Fit Anywhere Else and tagged , .

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