Fork in My Eye writes: Much Ado About To-Do Lists, and like so many others, have come to realize what is written in fine print on the promised rainbow.

Most people know to-do lists tend to grow to an unmanageable size and then just never gets done, and becomes more a pain than a blessing.

I am lucky to have found the balance between the organic way of life, that is to say, the life that just happens, like when you have a moment of clarity, or a burst of creativity, or when something you didn’t plan on, happen. Which is most of the time.

I think only boring people can run their lives the way accountants balance a spreadsheet.

I was very worried when I couldn’t remember all my tasks, or prioritize them. Worse still, I could not trust any system, no matter digital or paper, I would always lose track.

When I read David Allen’s book “Getting Things Done” which I mentioned on another post,  I understood that what I had done wrong all the time was to lack the proper process.

Of course it starts with defining a Trusted place to store and categorize of whatever comes your way, everything you have to do or anything people ask of you over time, and you start from there to:

1: Collect
Pay attention to what is grabbing your attention
Empty your head

2: Process
Make decisions when things show up, not when they blow up

3: Organize
Sort your inventory into trusted buckets with “clean edges”. I have an INBOX, where everything is emptied every day and sorted into NEXT ACTION, PROJECTS, INCUBATE, DELEGATED, TRASH, ARCHIVE.

I process INBOX, and DELEGATED every day,

PROJECTS  and DELEGATED is looked through once a week or whenever I have time. It contains stuff I have asked other people to do, so I have a chance to follow them up.

INCUBATE and ARCHIVE every month,

The real trick is to formulate NEXT ACTIONs in such a way that you already made a decision about what you want to do about it, so you don’t have to make the decision the next time.

Formulating a good action is harder than you think, and is the main reason for procrastination.

Example: Travel to Spain

is not a good Next Action, but is a very good Project description. Already I can spit out Next Actions from it:

Project: Travel to Spain

  • Next Action: Decide date for going to Spain
  • Next Action: Renew Passport
  • Next Action: Select Hotel and City in Spain to visit
  • Next Action: Book online the airline ticket and Hotel in Spain

Review
Keep current and “ahead of the game” – and stick to it. Decide on making 2 hours every week into a board meeting with yourself as the CEO of your life. Review everything you are doing, but don’t get tangled in the details.

Doing
Notice how you choose to spend your time (Threefold Nature of Work) Make trusted choices.

For more information get the book from David Allen: “Getting Things Done”.