What is a todo list? A list of errands and tasks — often written on a piece of paper as a memory aid — that one needs or intends to accomplish.
The duration of execution may vary but ultimately it acts as a checklist. I have been a big fan of these and have been using it for years now.
Todo Lists work well for me in my professional space. On personal front, I have been embedding tasks as a part of my daily routine and they don’t really need a tracking list. As years have passed, my role in the organization has changed and so is my perspective of viewing this list.
Stage 01. Chasing the time: When you have one huge task and time is what you chase. Say, a presentation for client before tomorrow evening.
Stage 02. Get the list done: When a set of tasks need to be done in a day. Say, a document, an email, a phone call, a team discussion, etc.
Stage 03. Task Pipeline: As the day progresses, you meet and talk to different people and your action hub keeps building. You won’t be able to shell time to organize and then execute them. Rather, you would have to be on the go and keep tackling. You might have your filters on all the time. Keep scanning the tasks to see if they are urgent or important. If needed, you might block the pipeline for a bit, tackle a few that needs attention and push or delegate the rest.
Stage 04. A day is less: This is that point of your career where you become the key person to all. You have so much on your plate, that a day feels less. Managing all the stakeholders and your team becomes key here. In this stage, some tasks are called out and some needs to be a part of your working process. You might feel caught up all day but when the day ends, your main task would still seem pending.
Here is when you might have to take time off, meditate, listen to your subconscious and channelize your thoughts. This might sound a little too much but trust me this has really worked for me. This is the time that your brain takes a step back from the execution mode and looks at the bigger picture.
In this case, you will have a very dynamic todo list. It is likely to get stuffed and may overflow. Also, there will be a lot of disruptions which might make it difficult to accomplish. Time blocking would make it more productive and hence, todo list with calendar would do good. Calendar gives you a visibility of your time along with tasks. Hence, you now are empowered to push requirements to later and reschedule meetings accordingly.
Stage 05. Lockdown Special: I couldn’t miss this one. This is when you hold multiple facets at the same time. Household chores, Being a mum, An obedient daughter-in-law, Work from Home, Running errands, and a lot more. This is when you start having multiple todo lists and one calendar to build it all.
Well, there are also times when your body and mind stop responding to these technicalities. That is when you should know it is a time for a day off or probably a vacation. Move out of your space, rejuvenate yourself, spend time with friends, family and then coming back. It would give you a better perspective and different level of energy to take control.
Hope this helps. Would like to hear what works well for you. Drop it in the comments below.
Happy Working and Stay Productive!