I was not always a list person. Quite frankly, I flew by the seat of my pants. Later in my career I realized that my mental capabilities for remembering are not what they used to be. So now, I have a few ways to keep track of what I am working on, what is next, and items that are quick to-do’s when I have the time.
One thing that I have noticed while writing out my lists for the day is that I have a working play book to pick what is next. Of course, we have our calendar (which many are Outlook or a similar device. Some people use other personal calendars). Most of the calendar items are meetings, or
time that has to be dedicated by choice or by alignment of others availability for a task. In addition to that daily log, I keep a tablet with notes about things I am thinking, want to look at, or am asked to research. This list includes varying levels of time to complete objectives.
During the day, you will find moments when you have free time. It may be a meeting that got cancelled, or perhaps was completed early. During that time it is good to work on priorities that you have or things you needed that extra time for. I have found, with experience, many “free” moments are only short intervals. So during that time I pull out my list and scan for quick things to complete. For example – if I am in between meetings and have 15 minutes not accounted for I may pick an item on the list where I have to run a report to examine some numbers – or send an email that I have been meaning to. By having those things on the list I rarely am at the end of my day with many small tasks to complete before my day is done. Not to mention that it helps me manage my day as a whole.
Lastly, these mini-lists are encouraging. At the end of my day I have a list where items have been checked off as completed. Finally, the very last “to do” is to copy the list over to tomorrow. I start the list again carrying anything over that was missed.