Finding time to be productive can be greatly enhanced by having effective, and easy to use, lists.
How? Well, for starters, it’s important to not let your lists become so detailed that they are overwhelming. At the same time you don’t want to make them so broad that your specific goals get lost.
One of the most useful tools that I have developed for managing lists is the “Two Column Method.” This allows you to both lay out a plan for the day and reflect on it once a day is over. I’ve had lots of clients use this method and adapt it to their needs quite successfully.
The term “two column” refers to the act of planning and then reflecting. It’s not meant to literally limit the number of columns that you use. In fact, I would suggest using more than two columns as you expand and adapt the basic system to your purposes.
Try something like this:
- In the first column I like to list the general categories of tasks that I intend to tackle in the coming day.
- Then, in the next column I get more specific.
- I reserve a column on the far right for reflections on how the day went and for tracking what I did and did not do, relative to my plan.
For example, I might write “exercise” in my left-hand column, and then, in the middle column, write something like “walk in the woods.” You could even add more columns if you want to be more detailed about your plan and/or its various components.
The last thing I would suggest is that, the night before, you at least begin your columns for the next day. This is something you could incorporate into your reflection process. It’s a great way to give yourself a head start on your tomorrow!
How do you recharge your productivity? Are lists a part of your day? Do they work well for you?
© Copyright 2010 Paula Eder, Ph.D.