About this Blog

The Curmudgeon's Office blog is a spin off from my personal blog, Too Young To Be A Curmudgeon, which is full of random rants and thoughts I have on a whole host of topics. In an effort to be more organized, and also to attract a specific niche of followers, I decided to start a separate blog for my professional postings. At this blog, I'll post my tips, rants, and random thoughts on a host of professional topics from setting up a home office & office gadgets to 5S practices & time management.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Short To Do Lists, Lots of Short To Do Lists

I'm one of those people who arise in the morning who usually feels motivated by the clean slate of a new day. Like many, I like to start the day by making a To Do List while I drink my first cups of coffee. I feel motivated, ready to take in the day with all it's tasks and challenges and i write a list. Usually a long list.

The long list is a problem for me. When I started writing the list I was fresh and motivated, but part way through the list I begin to get worn down. Things take longer than I thought, I get side tracked by new tasks, phone calls, emails, etc. my overly optimistic start smacks into an overly pessimistic roadblock. I look at the long list of things that remain on my To Do List and start making excuses on why I can't do them. Before long the list is set aside and given up on. Only to be rewritten the next morning when my positive attitude returns. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

The biggest problem of this method is that some big projects I plan, just never get started. Also, the couch potato in me comes out in the early evening and says "let's just take the night off and hit it hard early tomorrow morning." And I listen almost every time.

The solution I found is very simple: shorter lists. Instead of sitting down and writing a list of twenty things I'm going to do in any given day, I write a list of four or five things I'm going to do by 9:00am. Then when the list is completed, I write another list of four or five things I'm going to do by 12:00pm. I continued this processes all day, and I find it much easier to keep momentum and I get much more done.

For me anyway, it's much easier to take on a small list that can be completed somewhat quickly and feel like I accomplished something; the build momentum on that small accomplishment and take on the next small list.

I still make a long list of tasks and I'm constantly adding to it, rearranging items by priority through out the day. But it's kept in the background only to be referenced when a short daily list is completed to pull the next group of tasks from.

At the end of the day, I find myself completing four or five small lists, instead of half of a long list. The best part is usually those small lists when added together are as long or longer than the long list of daily To Do's that I used to give up on.

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