Recently, a reader asked this interesting question. It’s all well and good to keep 398734 lists in your planner (or accessory notebook, as the case may be). But when is it necessary/helpful to actually LOOK at these lists?
Some people may resent having a specific suggested interval, and that’s okay. I think that for some people they just know when they need to look. It can be a holistic organic process for some.
For me, I prefer to be a little more systematic. But my system is (fairly) simple:
- I look at my weekly list every day.
- I look at my monthly list every week.
- I look at my quintile list every month.
- I look at my yearly list AND my someday/maybe lists and do a general flip-through of my notebook every quintile.
I try NOT to look more than this. Sometimes it’s fun to glance at my monthly list on a random day to see how I’m doing. Or to remind myself of my 20 for 2020 goals. But generally, I do best when I only see what I need to see. It prevents me from feeling overwhelmed, and also protects me from overloading myself. For example, yesterday was a GME day. I looked at my schedule landscape, assigned myself what seemed like a reasonable number of tasks from my weekly list, and then stopped when I had checked those items off.
(Of course there were some random small fires to put out as well that came in via calls/texts/email — but luckily nothing too bad).
One thing I have been doing more of is putting small-but-time-sensitive tasks directly onto daily pages. This only works if getting the task done won’t take up significant time/energy — ie, it won’t be a terrible surprise to see that I need to renew library books online (takes about 30 seconds) or cancel my care.com membership (took about 45 seconds). It’s nice to not waste space on my weekly goals list or mental energy transferring from weekly –> daily with these kinds of tasks.
Shown below: weekly list (on left). Mostly work stuff that week, but it definitely varies!