I would have been lying to you if I said that I was looking forward to work this week. I have to make up hours from the Christmas break, which I will be working after my usual hours for awhile.
But that’s okay. I’m the happiest I’ve been with my job, which I didn’t expect at all. Primarily, I’m returning to an old to-do list technique which I find helpful.
I used to have notebooks full of pages and pages of sheets just like this one.
This technique is derived from a productivity how-to from the internet. To set it up, you have four columns, with the column headers “Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Break”. On the sides, you have today’s date, tomorrow’s date, and the day after tomorrow’s date. I charted these tasks for the day of, and two days in advance.
In terms of task priority, a primary task is the most important task to do, secondary the next two important tasks, tertiary the next three important tasks. Break is just stuff to do that isn’t important, but should be done sometime, perhaps as a break between these other tasks.
My favorite part about this technique is autofilling the next two days. When you complete today’s primary task, secondary task one moves to primary. This happens for all of the tasks in the columns. If you make it through your entire day, the next day replaces the one you’re on.
Yeah, it’s a to-do list on steroids. One that never finishes (unless you stop charting) which is probably why I stopped doing it.
I remember in undergrad thinking, “wow, this list sure gives me a lot of anxiety!” That doesn’t discount it’s effectiveness though. When I was in the midst of having panic attacks in my car at the thought of studying for World Lit II, I don’t think I was in a place to handle this technique.
A couple years later, I think I can handle this much better. Putting boundaries on the list it helps a lot. You could do this by only charting today’s activities, or not being focused on “go go go” every second. But in those stressful periods of forced “go go go”, nothing can beat this technique.