Thursday, April 10, 2008

Notecard for the Week: Oh yes, it gets better.

Photo by: MShades

I have become obsessed with my notecard for the day: a single 3x5 sheet that carries with it what i need to do today (a very small and realistic number), often a calendar of events (so I know when the free time is that I can do my tasks for the day), and small afternoon/evening mini-tasks and thoughts that come into my head that I need to capture. On a single 3x5 sheet.

After using it for a few months now, I've concluded there are two reasons it's so wonderful:

1. Focus - Don't we all simply want to know exactly what it is we need to do today? I have it written on a single 3x5 sheet.
2. Importance - The tasks written on that notecard are the most critical steps right now to accomplishing short term and long term goals. I know this is true because that is the criteria for a task making it onto the notecard.

In this vain, I realized that I wanted the same clarity of focus and importance for my weekly picture. Why? Because the day is a bit zoomed in when trying to accomplish goals on the month to year scale (e.g. Finish this project and write a paper by summer). Also my advisor thinks in week terms: 'Have this done by next week'. So, as I accomplish my task for a given day, I want that same clarity of focus and importance on my weekly tasks so that tomorrow morning it's damn easy to pick my new task(s). Lastly, it fits perfectly with a weekly review and literally coaxes me to do one every week since I need to switch notecards anyways.

What about Todoist? It pains me to say this but I'm slowly starting to not need it as much. It's still works great for capturing thoughts quickly when I'm on the computer or converting emails to tasks, but with my list of tasks for the week (notecard for the week) and list of tasks for the day (notecard for the day) I almost have no need for a large database of every brain fart I ever had about thinks I maybe should do.

Clarity of focus and importance: Know what the most important steps to successfully finishing your projects are, and focus on them. Don't get distracted by anything else.

I'm finding this philosophy to be invaluable.

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