Personal productivity is an area that I constantly strive to improve on and for those long subscribed here you’ll know I frequently share working practices. Since I took a new role last autumn mine have had to change. I recently had some time off and this system really helped me get back on track. All my tasks are in Remember the Milk and most of the tasks get there through direct messages from twitter (heres how). My mantra for task management now is:
- Get everything into remember the milk (RTM).
- Quick review daily to prioritise new tasks and define delivery days/times. RTM allows 3 priorities. Also during this daily review I’ll cross off completed actions.
- Print the list daily and highlight today’s targets.
- Look for calendar time for the most urgent actions.
- Weekly thorough review with re-prioritisation.
I don’t use the full GTD methodology though I do like having an empty in-box (never quite achieve it but its generally small).
As my work has become more intense I’ve had to increasingly use priorities. I now find I generally run on about 3 pages of actions when printed out. The first page generally contains all the high priority actions (in fact I should stop printing the other 2 as I rarely get to look at them).
I feel less stressed (sounds silly doesn’t it!). I have more work, more actions, more people wanting my input or deliverables from me yet I’m less stressed. All my actions are in RTM. If people chase me I can be polite and explain that they are on my list but not yet the highest priority. I find I don’t get major pushback either. I’m getting more done than before and I put this down to a combination of prioritisation and blocking time in the calendar for tasks – sure I get interrupted or diverted to other priorities but it seems to be working for me. I hope it can work for you too if you are struggling. Love to hear your stories.