Another productivity post

February 11, 2008

Today’s new experiment has been to use a single index card to remind me of my to-do list. It’s divided into four parts by a horizontal line across the middle and a vertical line about two-thirds of the way over, so it looks like a flag for some minimalist Scandinavian country viewed from the wrong side. The top-left portion is for my Most Important Tasks – three things I really want to get done today, with ticky-boxes beside them. As it stands, I’ve abandoned one of those tasks, but the other two are nicely ticked.

Immediately below it are two themes – things that I want to be mindful of (this week’s themes are “Write the tests first” and “Watch what you eat”). They’re surrounded by boxes to highlight them.

To the right are regular and scheduled tasks. At the top, the things that are part of my daily routine (meditate, blog and generate ideas, plus run around on alternate days). Below the cut are appointments – for classes, library books due, interviews, that kind of thing.

I’ve used this system for one day, which is clearly not enough to determine whether it’s a workable system. However, it has kept me focussed on my themes (I did lapse and eat a doughnut… but then I didn’t have dessert after dinner, so I feel I made up for it), and been a constant reminder of what I wanted to get done. I think this one has legs.

The other thing is, it’s probably worth putting the card together the night before so you can get up and get running in the morning. Which is precisely what I plan to do now.

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