Finishing tasks have a deadline, or are time/day sensitive is simple more or less. But the tasks you can do today, or tomorrow, or the next week? A nightmare. Of course, you can define for those tasks also a deadline. For me this never worked. I found a great way to deal with these tasks.
What not really worked
I have only a few time/day sensitive tasks. What I did before with other tasks:
- I wrote a lot of additional tasks to my daily plan and was always frustrated because I never finished the whole list. I copied the tasks to the next days again and again. Guess which tasks? Always the same - what I hate.
- Once I tried to write fewer tasks to my daily plan, then the things aren't going further - so I was frustrated.
- I tried to keep my daily plan small and I had a weekly task list. What happened? Same as with the big daily todo list: shifted the same tasks again and again (because new, very important and urgent tasks are coming into the system aren't they?)
Thematic task lists
I know, I didn't reinvent the wheel, but I'm so happy with this system. I write day/time sensitive tasks directly to my daily page. And I have some categories of tasks, for them two lists behind my calendar section:
- I want/have to do these tasks in the near future.
- I just want to remember on this, for later.
What I want to do int the next days (weeks), I write on the first list. I mark tasks with a red dot, which are urgent. I write the date when I added the task to the list.
How the system works?
I plan out my week in one session. I block out my appointments first. Then I block out time for eating, routines, the usual things. Lastly the different types of activities: housework, family administration, me time, my own tasks (business mostly), etc. I have a list of a minimum expectation how many I want/need for these in a week - but I have more time - so I can adjust my plan to the life actual happening. I always leave time slots open.
I copy this to my daily plan. If something I have to deal with on a day, I write that there - near to the time blocked out for that type of activity. When the time comes for housework...
- If there is a task written to the daily plan I do that.
- If on my housework list is something marked with a dot, I do that.
- If nothing is marked (or those are already finished, and I have time left), than I try to do the very first unfinished task from the list. (Not always, see the next part.)
And this is it. I can be sure, that I make steps from every kind of things. Of course if a list is growing more than others - I have to adjust my weekly rules.
Advantages of the system
- No category will be put on the side.
- If I feel I need more time for a type, I can steal from an other and I will not feel myself guilty.
- If I feel I don't want to deal with something I hate - I hate every administration type tasks - I can work on those tasks every day for only a short time - this way hurts not so much.
- If I'm in very wrong mood, I pick only one task from the hated category, and maybe not the most urgent one, then I go to the next category. So I can be proud: I did something.
- And in the situation, if the very first task is something, I don't want to do now, I do something else from the list. But the date is there - that keeps me away from ignoring that task too long. I'm not always lazy/depressed/exhausted. I will do that task. One day :D
Written in fewer words: This system is very flexible, you can adjust to your actual day/week/mood/energy level. Just have some simple rules. What is a minimum you must do, and keep yourself to that rules.