What’s your system for getting things done? What carries you along from thinking of a task to actually doing it?
I bet most of my readers like to make lists and cross things off them. But let’s get more specific.
- Hand write notes on scrap paper?
- Use Post-It notes? If so, where do you stick them?
- Keep a notebook full of lists? Is it a special notebook, like a blank journal, or an ordinary one?
- Use a wall or desk calendar?
- Keep lists on your phone or tablet?
- Note everything in Outlook?
- Set reminders? Set alarms?
- Ask people to remind you of things?
- Ask people to phone or text you with reminders?
- Wait to be nagged?
- Put visuals everywhere you go – on the bathroom mirror, in the car…
- Keep it all in your head?
- Make note of important things only?
- Make note of little things only, because you’ll remember the big ones?
- Keep all the info you need in a central location, like an inbox in the kitchen?
- Deal with small items immediately so you don’t have to think about them again?
- Break down jobs into steps and chip away at them?
- Or go on a chores binge and work until you drop?
- Rely on routine – such as getting a car wash whenever you get a fill-up?
- Set aside blocks of time for planning and preparation – such as meal planning?
- If you procrastinate, what’s your tipping point – what ends the cycle?
For regular household tasks, I don’t think of myself as having a system, but I do. It’s just a rather loose arrangement.
I always do things that affect my bodily comfort, such as showering, getting dressed, making meals and eating. However, I often cut back on sleep to get more done, and pay the price for it. I always get myself to work and I’m more productive than not All of these things are non-negotiable and I don’t think about doing them differently.
I would say that housework is a low priority, but the reason it doesn’t get urgent is because I am on auto-pilot for a lot of it. I always make lunch to take to work. I always put dishes in the dishwasher and wipe down the counter tops. The last one out of bed in the morning makes the bed. Mail and junk mail get sorted and dealt with as soon as we walk in the door.
Some tasks are scheduled, such as grocery shopping and laundry, almost always in the same weekly time slot. On the other hand, there’s no schedule for vacuuming or cleaning the bathroom or paying bills – they just get done when they seem to need doing.
We have a calendar in the kitchen for appointments and commitments that we both need to know about, but it’s sparse.
I don’t keep lists of day-to-day activities, only irregular ones that I am more likely to forget. So I don’t write down “Do laundry” but I do write down “Call for dentist appointment.”
I try to be realistic with myself. If I am dreading a chore, sometimes I’d rather do it than list it. I would never write down “Clean litter box” – I would just get it over with! Like lots of people, sometimes I perform better under pressure and I take action when things become urgent and not a moment sooner (as in – yikes, the motor vehicle inspection is due tomorrow!)
I suppose my Achille’s heel is putting off tasks that are never going to be urgent, such as negotiating a lower car insurance rate – there’s always next year
I really like the idea of using a complete system such as Getting Things Done, but I’ve never adopted a system all-out. I just know what NOT to do – like keeping my email open all day. That doesn’t work because every incoming message feels like it needs an immediate response!
What system do you use?