Tuesday, 11 May 2010
The Power of the Tick
In the olden days I produced paper to do lists but because of my erratic handwriting these got rather messy. So for about six years I've worked successfully with electronic Outlook lists
in a PDA format which can be backed up onto my laptop. The latest version comes on a Samsung Omnia I900 which is such a versatile piece of kit that I've dispensed with camera and MP3 player too. And occasionally I use it as a phone too, spending about £20 every six months on a 'Pay as You Go' tariff. I use a few categories which are helpful in keeping various bits of my life separate and in the beginnning I found Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity by David Allen a very useful source of pointers for getting the most out of making lists.
Is there a downside? Well, yes. I am highly reliant on 'Brain 2' and things that don't get listed somehow don't make it into the space between my ears at all. And also I can become quite preoccupied by the things on my list to the point where they have become anxiety provoking. So to avoid this I make sure that things that I do for pleasure are, as far as possible, not broken down into list form and are done for their own sake without the 'virtual' time constraints that my list seem to impose.
It may be the sign of being a simple soul but I get a lot of satisfaction out of ticking things off when they're done even the tiny jobs that take a few seconds to do. The list system also means that unpleasant or boring tasks are scheduled over a period of time so I never have to do, say, a full spring clean because I gradually keep on top of things. And little regular jobs such as updating my mileage claim daily means that I'm not faced with a great big chore at the end of the month.