Ok, are you ready for a brain dump? I wouldn't answer either – until I knew what it was.
I am referring to unloading all of the big and little to dos that you are carrying around in your head. You know, those things that pop up at random times.
Like when you pass the pet store, you remember that you need to pick up food for Fido. But you don't have time to stop because you are already late to pick up Ben from soccer. As you get a block from the store, racing to pick up Ben, the image of Fido salivating as he waits for his kibbles, leaves your head. Your only thought is of Ben, sitting on the curb, waiting for you.
Then you get home, with Ben, thankfully. And there is Fido with his big sad eyes, waiting, hungry for his kibbles.
So, you turn around, get in the car and go get his food. Now dinner for the human folk is going to be late!
Time for the Brain Dump
While this is going to happen occasionally because – stuff happens. You can try to minimize it's occurrence by, first, getting everything out of your head.
(As with all of my suggestions, please modify this one so that it will work for you. I do try to be as specific and detailed as possible, which means it may not necessarily work for you in the way that I describe.)
1. Fist, I suggest creating an excel spreadsheet so that you can easily sort the items, if you choose.
2. Initially, list all of your to dos. Include those that are tabled for now.
3. List everything you can think of off the top of your head.
4. Then take a walk around your house; you may see something that prompts you to add another item.
5. Ask people at home and at work, if appropriate, for suggestions. 🙂
Master Task List (Not A To Do List)
Now you have a simple master list of all of your to dos, which may suffice for you. If that is the case, please go no further than listing your tasks. Less is more!
However, it may help to include more information. Below is a model that I adapted from one of my former clients. If making decisions about what task to do and in what order is a challenge for you, I think that this type of table could be immensely useful for you in creating your weekly and daily To Dos.
|Area||Location||To Do||Time Frame||Priority|
|Auto||Errand||Oil Change||2 months over due||A|
|Work||Phone||Set up mtg with Bob||Dec (+2 months)||B|
|Travel||Computer||Apply for passport||Aug (+8 months)||B|
|Home||Yard||Paint fence||Summer (+10 months)||C|
Weekly and Daily To List
Once you have a master list, you are ready to create your Weekly and Daily To Do list. ( For the "Advanced Class," I suggest looking ahead a month and quarter. But let's start with next week.)
One option is to sort all of the tasks by area (i.e. work , home etc.), so you only need to focus on specific task at the appropriate time.
Another option is to sort by location. For example, you may want to make some of your phone calls while waiting for Ben's soccer game to end. Or, if you are out and about, you can do many of your errands at once. If you sort by location, these tasks will be readily accessible to you when you have time to do them.
Knowing the time frame will help you see the time line of your to dos, and may help you decide when to do them.
I thank Donna Birk of OnlineOrganizing.com for her research in finding the following explanation of the A, B, C and D method of prioritizing. Knowing the priority of each item can also help you decide how to order your tasks.
One customized version of an A B C method of prioritizing helps make it easy to remember what A, B, C, and in this case D represent.
'A' are activities which ABSOLUTELY must get done now
'B' are those that BETTER get done soon
'C' are those that COULD wait for now
'D' are those that can be DELEGATED but require follow up
First the Brain Dump. Then the To Do List. Let me know how it goes. Comment below or email me.