We organized folks love our to-do lists, don’t we? Egged on by experts like David Allen, we nod in vigorous agreement that tasks are better out of our head and down on paper, where we can review and prioritize them to our heart’s content.
But if you’re anything like me, you can soon find yourself the prisoner of a very, very long list, where everything from wash the sheets to learn Spanish is lurking. Most days, no matter how hard I work or how productive I am, there is always stuff on the list which has not been crossed off. And since this appears to be the natural order of things, I am becoming more interested in figuring out which tasks are more important than others.
In recent weeks, I have come across a couple of really useful concepts which have transformed how I feel about my lists. Could they work for you, too?
Repeaters or Completers?
The first is an expression I heard from Margaret Lukens, a wonderful professional organizer and productivity coach who did tell me who the inventor of this concept was, and I’ve forgotten. Sorry. Nonetheless, I suggest you divide your list into Repeaters and Completers and see if you feel differently about it.
Repeater examples: buy groceries, vacuum, floss teeth, check bank statement, pull weeds, call parents.
Completer examples: set up a file system, book a flight to London, paint the guest bedroom, buy new socks.
Repeaters are things which you can probably skip and they’ll still be there next week. Or, you can do them, and hey presto, they’ll still need to be done next week or next month. Oh joy. Completers, on the other hand, actually move you forward. Once the task is done, it won’t need to be done again (until all your socks are worn out, of course). Read more…