Such comfort one can take from striking items off a long list of to-dos. It gives you a keen sense of satisfaction, the feeling that you have been productive, that things have been accomplished, that you can get on with life having set it in some sort of order....
My lists are full of large goals, and I am overwhelmed the moment I look at the list each morning. Two weeks later, a month later, I find I have been busy doing things that are not on the list but the items on there have received no attention. They are too big even to begin thinking about. I seem to have not paid enough attention in the classes on goal setting and planning. Yes, I do know all about SMART goals but when it comes to organizing my day, I seem to forget that bit of the lecture. I can’t seem to draw back from the big picture to focus on the details, and it’s the details, I have learned from my friends, that make the list move.
Now I find that the Web is full of handy tips on list making, with several sites devoted to “the art” of making lists. Diaries and calendars offer spaces to create one’s hourly schedules and prioritize them. eHow.com, for instance, tells you how to do “just about anything” with sage advice to “spend a little time each day in planning”, while the “Ta Da List” (www.tadlist.com) claims to be simpler than writing on paper. And of course, rememberthemilk, iGoogle’s task manager, and umpteen others. There are tools for grocery lists and time-bound lists, with scheduled prompts built in.
I wonder, though, if these tools will accommodate the grand nature of my own day-to-day plans, each item designed to change the world of my workplace. What I need is a tool that will take these individual grand plans and break them down into small, baby steps that I can just maybe begin ticking off.
I already have a set of markers, in three different colours, to code that list. And a pad of nice yellow sticky notes that is waiting on my desk.