Posted on 20th May 2013 at 4:03 PM from Shoples HQ, Manchester
If, like me, you keep a ToDo List then I'm sure you find that no matter how much you do, there is always more that needs doing. It is a fact of life that you simply cannot do everything that needs doing. There will always be something else to demand your time.
There are some tasks though that you should do or even some that you must do. But the reality is that these will never get done regardless of how long they they remain on your ToDo List. This is simply the way the human mind works so we must accept it rather than fight against it.
But unless we have a strategy for dealing with such tasks then they will conspire to clog up our ToDo Lists, our lives and ultimately stifle or productivity. In short we need a means to identify these tasks and get them off our ToDo List.
One way is simply to record the date when a task is added to the list and, if it isn't completed within some time period, it automatically gets struck off. But I use a slightly different method.
Every evening except Friday and Saturday I write out my ToDo List for the following day. I start by copying out my existing list leaving out any tasks that I have completed during the day or that no longer need to be included. I ensure that these are kept in order. Only then do I add any new tasks.
Because I copy the list from the previous day, the task at the top of my list is always the one that has been there for the longest time. Sometimes this is only a couple of days and sometimes it is a number of months. However, when the next morning I set my frogs I always include this oldest task at the top of my frog board.
The next day, if that task is still on my frog board it gets a blue mark next to it and another the next day and so on. The rule is that only three blue marks are allowed - if a fourth were needed then I know that I will never complete this task and it must be discarded. This removes the clutter from my list and from my life.
If the task really still does need doing then it either needs breaking down into smaller tasks that will get done or it needs reframing with a completely different focus.
Having a way to get rid of tasks that are never going to get done ensures that time is well spend and that productivity continues with the tasks that will get done.