Spoiler alert: I recorded a guest spot on one of my favorite podcasts to be aired on Friday! YES, I get to check off one of my 20 for 2020 goals already (#12: guest star on a podcast that I enjoy).
The discussion is all about planning and of course I’ll share a link when it airs. During one portion of the interview, we started talking about lists, since the pod’s host wasn’t completely satisfied with her list-making habits/technique. She wrote out everything that was going on, essentially, and then crossed out items until most of them were gone, and then created a new list.
This method is probably pretty popular, but it gives me hives to think about putting all of my to-do items in one space that I have to refer to. And in delving into the reason, I realized it was because I AM A HIGHLY SENSITIVE PERSON WHO WILL BE OVERWHELMED AND WANT TO GIVE UP ON LIFE IMMEDIATELY if I have to repeatedly look at a list showing that I have 27 potential tasks to complete at any given time.
OF COURSE we all have 27 (or many more!) tasks. But I don’t want to look at them. I need to be able to easily look at a (manageable) master list for any given time frame and then pull out JUST what is reasonable to get done that day. Or even slightly more than is reasonable (I don’t always get to check everything off, especially if unexpected things come up!) — but certainly not 27 things.
THE TWO SCENARIOS:
LIST OF 27: I stress out, feel overwhelmed, can’t decide what to even start on, and end up stress scrolling for an hour instead of getting anything accomplished.
LIST OF 4: I feel calm enough to select an item and build some momentum. I get 3 things done and feel pretty good about my day! (OR ALL 4 and feel like a total rock star. OR, total dream scenario — maybe I finish early and get to reward myself by doing something fun.)
This has become more important since my transition to PD. When my job was almost entirely patient care, the next action was always pretty apparent – see & care for the next patent and write a note! There were personal checklist items (which can also be overwhelming) but no swathes of unscheduled work time in which it becomes essential that I focus in on the RIGHT tasks (and there is usually a logical order to things, but it’s not always immediately apparent).
I am happy to say that I am getting better at planning my days, and my weekly & daily lists are two of my most important tools. Every morning, I sit with my trust HTC and:
- Use the weekly view to pull up any scheduled items – patient blocks, meetings, kid activities, etc
- Fill out the timeline to ensure everything is logistically feasible
- Create a task list based on the amount of open time I anticipate (ie, yesterday morning was an open work period for GME stuff in the morning, so I put several medium-sized tasks on the list!)
Then that’s it. Typically I don’t go back to look at any task lists. I have ‘assigned’ myself what is going to happen, and do not need to stress myself out by looking at other tasks looming in the background. I’ve looked once (when creating the page) and that’s enough.
This isn’t exactly the method David Allen recommends in his famous book Getting Things Done, but his phrase Mind Like Water comes to mind (and even inspired me to choose my “lake view” planner cover this year). This state of mind is — in my interpretation — when you know you have all of your open tasks captured and you know exactly what to prioritize at any given moment. You can immerse yourself (sorry, last water metaphor) in the tasks and your experiences, and let the part of your brain that is always on high alert trying to triage life’s potential calamities just go into inactive mode in the background.
Okay, I will jump off my daily planning soapbox. But if you haven’t at least tried it, you should. Happy Wednesday, and I’ll share the guest pod link here when it airs!!