Longer ago than it’s polite to admit, Bloglily tagged me with the meme to ask how I plan things. I didn’t do it, because I don’t really organise myself, so it never got on a to do list, so I never did it, so it’s all rather embarrassing. However, today I found a sheet of paper I wrote up a year ago when I was working out things that need doing to the house, and it clicked itself in beside the “must do Bloglily’s meme” entry in my brain, and so I offer it here. Pretty, isn’t it?
And confusing. And impractical.
The long and the short is that I don’t have a consistent system. As I’ve said, I tend to carry my to do list around in my head which is a Bad Thing. The diagram above shows an attempt to get the list out of my head and prioritised in some way.
At work where these things matter, I either plonk my way through my email inbox, red flagging things that need dealing with and confirming them as complete when I’ve done them, or else I make a list in my notebook and tick them off when I’ve done them. I’ve taken recently to doing beautiful diagrams in Visio of things that need doing and the order they need doing in, and they look rather like demented seaweed. Oddly, I have a reputation at work for planning and preparation, but that is because I can be heard snarling things like “failing to plan is planning to fail” and “being without a list makes you listless” and “poor preparation makes for p***-poor performance” at myself, and occasionally at others.
Every five years or so I make a Life Plan. I write the things I want to have or do more of in coloured pen on a sheet of flip-chart paper. They tend to be fairly generic things like “laugh” and “do gardening”. I also work through the exercises in “What Color is Your Parachute” which help me think about what I want in my life and what I want out of it. It can take me years to gather my thoughts for the really big changes like buying a house or making a career change or choosing a degree course, but once I’ve gathered them I end up putting my criteria into a checklist of 4 – 8 things. I am then ruthlessly uncompromising about the criteria on the list, but very patient.
Ultimately though, I find that lists of things to do are usually so oppressive and depressing, and full of so much obligation and so little that’s actually worth doing for its own sake, that I tend not to bother. Which is why only half of the things on the picture above have actually been dealt with a year later.