There was a period of time where I tried to just keep running task lists of things I needed to take care of. My mind was a bit overwhelmed with all of the different things that needed to be done that I just needed to get it down on paper.
Knowing the lists typically didn’t work for me, I set out to make it work by using color codes and ranking for important tasks. I figured if I made it neat and pretty, it would not be so overwhelming.
At the beginning of the week, my beautiful task list looked like this…
Beautiful colors! So well organized! Easy to read! Ahhh!
By the end of the first day, it looked more like this…
And that’s being generous! Usually there were scrawled notes all over the margins; overlapping and written in tiny letters. Arrows leading from one task to the next, or one note to the next. New tasks added that didn’t follow the color code. And usually something was spilled on it by the end of the first day!
Here is what I learned from this short-lived adventure:
- I need to have a list that stays fairly neat for the period of time that I am using it. My notes have to be on a separate page so my eyes are not distracted from the tasks.
- While a weekly list is helpful for proactive planning on big projects (I KNOW I will get to that report on Wednesday as I scheduled time for it), my actual task list can only cover the day. I need to keep my focus on those tasks.
- I am a VERY visual person! If there is a process that flows for a project, I need to write it as a flow chart.
- My tasks list cannot cover an entire sheet of paper – that just stresses me out. In order to feel as though I have made progress, I need to move keep my lists to about 1/2 a page. That’s not 1/2 a page of projects, either. Only those specific tasks that need to be completed for projects.
- I have to actually write down my task lists. I may keep my projects on long-term items in a digital format, but for actual task management, I need to put pen to paper.
You may have guessed by now that this method of tracking tasks did not work for me for very long. Before long, I figured out a new system that seems to handle my work and stress load much better. Stay tuned for that!