Things Need Doin'

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Clearly, most of us are on board with keeping to-do lists, but finishing them is a different story. So we spoke with productivity experts to figure out not only how best to plow through our lists, but also whether there’s a best type of list out there to begin with. And then, just to make you feel a little less alone, we snagged a look at the looming lists of four real, aspiring list-finishers. Documenting the people and things that need our attention isn’t so much of a challenge in itself—the tricky part is checking off tasks without that “I haven’t accomplished today!” feeling. To keep moving forward, keep these four expert tips in mind:

1. Maintain one master list
Ken Zeigler, a productivity and time management expert who has conducted over 16 years of research in the field, suggests a master list, a portable pad of paper (he finds the old-school medium most effective for retention) where you keep all to-do items (whether financial, personal or professional) for an entire week. When you have a thought, write it down immediately, then delete it from your mind. “Allow your mind to be a strategic thinker,” he says, “not a memory chip.”

2. Batch your tasks
The next step in Zeigler’s process is to review your master list daily and transfer action items onto a daily list, which should be in electronic form to make it easily portable and accessible from multiple devices. This list should be batched, or separated, into groups of similar tasks (like the three separate emails you must answer in the next hour or the five errands you need to run in town). Zeigler explains that batching tasks improves productivity. “By working on all of the similar tasks, it will prevent your jumping from task to task and help you focus on one type at a time,” he says. RELATED: Does Work-Life Balance Actually Exist?

3. Work toward larger goals
Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get The Right Things Done, has created his own method for a list that tackles not just the minutiae of daily life, but your larger goals. It’s called the “18 Minutes to-do list.” To get started, you identify no more than five goals for the year—both personal and professional—and generate your daily to-dos keeping those annual goals in mind. Of course, there is space for the unavoidable minutiae, which is called the other 5 percent, because according to Bregman, you shouldn’t be spending more than 5 percent of your time on these tasks.

4. Set an expiration date for each to-do
When setting yourself up for success, next week isn’t an effective time limit. “There’s a tremendous amount of research that points to the fact that if you decide when and where you’re going to do something, you’ll do it,” says Bregman. If items stay on your list for more than three days, Bregman gives you three options: Do it right away, put it on your calendar for a specific time in the future (place the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day), or delete it. (via How to Make a Better To-Do List ~ Levo League)

Clearly, most of us are on board with keeping to-do lists, but finishing them is a different story. So we spoke with productivity experts to figure out not only how best to plow through our lists, but also whether there’s a best type of list out there to begin with. And then, just to make you feel a little less alone, we snagged a look at the looming lists of four real, aspiring list-finishers. Documenting the people and things that need our attention isn’t so much of a challenge in itself—the tricky part is checking off tasks without that “I haven’t accomplished today!” feeling. To keep moving forward, keep these four expert tips in mind:

1. Maintain one master list
Ken Zeigler, a productivity and time management expert who has conducted over 16 years of research in the field, suggests a master list, a portable pad of paper (he finds the old-school medium most effective for retention) where you keep all to-do items (whether financial, personal or professional) for an entire week. When you have a thought, write it down immediately, then delete it from your mind. “Allow your mind to be a strategic thinker,” he says, “not a memory chip.”

2. Batch your tasks
The next step in Zeigler’s process is to review your master list daily and transfer action items onto a daily list, which should be in electronic form to make it easily portable and accessible from multiple devices. This list should be batched, or separated, into groups of similar tasks (like the three separate emails you must answer in the next hour or the five errands you need to run in town). Zeigler explains that batching tasks improves productivity. “By working on all of the similar tasks, it will prevent your jumping from task to task and help you focus on one type at a time,” he says. RELATED: Does Work-Life Balance Actually Exist?

3. Work toward larger goals
Peter Bregman, author of 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction and Get The Right Things Done, has created his own method for a list that tackles not just the minutiae of daily life, but your larger goals. It’s called the “18 Minutes to-do list.” To get started, you identify no more than five goals for the year—both personal and professional—and generate your daily to-dos keeping those annual goals in mind. Of course, there is space for the unavoidable minutiae, which is called the other 5 percent, because according to Bregman, you shouldn’t be spending more than 5 percent of your time on these tasks.

4. Set an expiration date for each to-do
When setting yourself up for success, next week isn’t an effective time limit. “There’s a tremendous amount of research that points to the fact that if you decide when and where you’re going to do something, you’ll do it,” says Bregman. If items stay on your list for more than three days, Bregman gives you three options: Do it right away, put it on your calendar for a specific time in the future (place the hardest and most important items at the beginning of the day), or delete it. (via How to Make a Better To-Do List ~ Levo League)

Filed under to do list organization productivity levo advice

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maarrr:

Lists and lists of things to do - Finally getting some of it done✔️😁👍 #work #makeupstudio #makeupartist #productivity #today #procrastination

maarrr:

Lists and lists of things to do - Finally getting some of it done✔️😁👍 #work #makeupstudio #makeupartist #productivity #today #procrastination

3 notes

On working 40 hours a week as an academic @insidehighered

Recently, I told a group of graduate students that it’s possible to finish a dissertation and have a happy scholarly career while working 9 to 5. I think they were cheered and shocked, and I only later realized there might have been a lot of confusion. It’s hard to talk about working hours and academics partially because we have what others have called a culture (perhaps even cult) of “busyness,” partially because of the collapse of the 40-hour work week, and partially because academic work is a gas that will expand to fill all the time available.

So here is an attempt to clarify.

Filed under productivity academia scheduling workweek time management