A couple of people asked me about my list revelation yesterday so therefore this post. My revelation was not some new fantastic methodology. I've been using the same way for at least 5 years now. The actual revelation related to what and how things have been put on the list.
So ... what I was missing is my broad vision list. I knew I had to have one and in some places on the current working list I had things that alluded to long term planning but I was actually a bit lost as to how those should be done and thus .. they weren't being done. What I had missed was the daily or weekly or even monthly task lists separated from a long term vision. I had a mishmash of the two so that I had a 6 page working to do list that rarely got smaller because there were also long term goals that were not broken down into doable tasks.
So for example ... I had sections on the list for all my projects as well as for ideas for future projects. For some projects on the go, there are things that just are on long time lines ... like book launches in 2009. None of these things should go on a daily to do list along with things like "post so and so a copy of 2012".
So the revelation for me is two-fold. I need to get myself some long term planning lists - one for each project, that allow one page per project and have room for brainstorming how to execute these goals down into task by task things. And two .. I need to work off these long term lists by making up either weekly or daily lists of easily executable tasks. So what that means is .. you are more likely to do this task: post invoice to Jen over this one: design a financial plan for TPP.
As a rule of thumb, I also like to work lists in the following way.
1. A good list is one that you complete between 70 and 80% of in the alloted time
2. Allot yourself 10 daily tasks to complete
3. Try and complete 4 items off your daily list before lunchtime
And the big thing is to make sure the items on your list are easily executable. So if something looks too hard and you never ever get to it and it rolls over from one day to the next, have a look at what it is. Is it something that can be broken down into more bite-sized chunks? Can you do part of it now and get to the rest later? Do you need to get x done before you can proceed with y?
I always take the philosophy that if I am not getting through my list, there is something wrong with the way the list is written. And the first task for the next day should be reworking the list so its more tacklable.