At my presentation at the McRitchie-Hollis Museum on Tuesday night, my topic was "Facing the New Year with the Power of Procrastination," so I focused on TASK AVOIDANCE.
Here are the three methods I featured as ways to manage your TASK AVOIDANCE.
Getting Things Done
Getting Things Done, or GTD as it's known to its aficionados, is a hyper-organized way to get a grip on everything you have to do. Back in the days when I was media specialist at Newnan Crossing, artistic director at Newnan Community Theatre Company, music director at Newnan Presbyterian, and assistant program director at the Govenor's Honors Program, I used a system much like GTD to keep myself on track.
GTD has five precepts:
- Capture: write everything down (in your WASTE BOOK)
- Clarify: is an item actionable? If not, trash it, or file it for reference. Can you accomplish it in two minutes? Do it now. [No real guidance on what to do if you have 50 things that can be done in two minutes...] If more than two minutes: can you delegate it? Schedule it?
- Organize: take all the things you have to get done and categorize them into "contexts" — home, work, phone calls, items to write, items to buy, etc.
- Reflect: review your lists and contexts every week
- Engage: update and modify as you construct your work flow
As systems go, GTD is a good one. I found it too rigid to use religiously, but you may find it useful.
Find Out More
That last one, pocketmod.com, is a resource I completely forgot about, but it's a great little pocket organizer, a mini-WASTE BOOK, that you can design yourself. Props to the website's creator!
I will admit that the idea of bullet journaling was appealing to me: a quick little system of different bullet shapes to indicate the kind of task plus its location on the conveyor belt, BUT once I took a serious look at it, it became way too complicated for me. It seems to be more a system to help you not procrastinate, and that's no good, is it?
My suspicions were confirmed when I went looking for images of bullet journals to include in my presentation. Almost all of them were done by those Pinterest kinds of people who take more pains creaaating their notebook than All The Things they are supposed to be accomplishing. Have a look.
As far as I'm concerned, once your system needs stuff like this, it verges on scrapbooking and thus a TASK in and of itself. (As a counterpoint, here's a well-reasoned post on how to make bullet journaling just work.)
However, it's a well-respected system, and you may very well be one of Those People.
Find Out More
Finally, here's my favorite: kanban. Kanban has two tenets:
- Visualize your workflow.
- Limit your workflow.
That's all there is to it. Visualize your workflow by writing everything onto sticky notes, then post them in plain sight under three columns: TO DO, DOING, DONE. Limit your workflow by having only 3–5 sticky notes in the DOING column.
That's it. The system grows and adapts as you being to understand your workflow.