Don’t ask me about my to-do list. I’m not going to show you my to-do list.
We don’t talk about my to-do list
In my workplace, I’m usually known as the organized colleague, always with the lasted app or a new organizational method. I like to be organized, I like to make lists. But there’s something that I simply don’t like.
When I’m in a status meeting, my boss always asks me to show him my to-do list, so he can see what I’m working on currently. Now, in theory, this is something completely normal and makes a lot of sense. If I ran a company, I would like to know what my employees are up to. However, this is always an embarrassing situation for me. When I open my laptop to show a collection of color-coordinated and tagged tasks, most of the times I just get a lot of confused looks.
I’m very aware that my to-do list looks like a hot mess at first sight. And I would say that it’s not the prettiest thing to look at. But in reality, below all that chaos there is a complex organizational system that only I understand. I created myself, so I should be the one that knows how to read it. I simply don’t need anyone else to try to understand my very confusing method.
But let’s talk about to-do lists
Over the years, I’ve had multiple people asking me about my organizational methods, asking for suggestions and tips. Honestly, it was kinda the reason why I started writing these posts. Because when it came down to questions like these, I never know how to answer directly. How can I give advice about something so complex as productivity? Or better yet, who am I to do such a thing? I believe the answers vary drastically from person to person. Just look at all the productivity apps or methods that are out there, and how much they differ from each other. So, rather than share my own method, I usually like to give a few pieces of advice about how they should approach when creating their very own method.
This is not me trying to hide my super-secret organizational method. As I said, it’s very custom made, and I know very well that what works for me may not work for the next person.
The beginning of a journey
At this point, I already spent way too much time talking about my to-do list. The point that I’m trying to make is that I had to do a lot of research and experiments to find a method that worked for me. I couldn’t tell you how many apps I downloaded or book I read trying to find the one - too many honestly, and at the same time, not enough. And it’s still not perfect. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I would encourage you to find your own method. There are thousands of different organizational methods. I will share three of them that really helped me start this journey:
Post-It method: This is a method that has recently been shared around. It relies on the idea of simplifying your list, where you essentially write just enough tasks for the day to fit in a tiny post-it. Most of the time when I look at my massive to-do list I get lost and unmotivated, so I use this method to help me focus on the most important tasks for the day.
Bullet Journal: I talked about this method on a previous post. A bullet journal is all about organized prioritization. You write down everything you need to do, including tasks, events, and goals, and then you organize, prioritize and manage them within a specific system. I still use a very basic form of this method.
Time Blocking: I started using this one very recently, so I’m still in the exploration phase. This method is the combination of a to-do list and a calendar. Each task you have needs to appear on your calendar, within a specific time frame of your choice (time block). Which means, that you are not only following a schedule but also your to-do list.
As you can see my organizational method is a combination of the examples I just mentioned. And you can definitely do the same — choosing one or combine several. This is just a fraction of what is out there. Go, explore, find out what works for you.