I can’t remember if I’ve recommended this book before, but here’s a double thumbs up if so .
Today I’m in a deeply unproductive mood, which made me feel a bit rubbish until I remembered the advice in Mark Forster’s excellent book , “Do it tomorrow, and other secrets of time management”.
I bought it in a previous job when I was getting overwhelmed by demands for my time and attention and felt that I would never get on top of my work.
It’s a brilliantly simple premise, and one which seemingly contradicts the “just do it” mindset against which so many professional procrastinators fight. Everything that comes to you, every request for your time, every meeting – schedule it in for tomorrow or another day. Obviously, this does’t work for childcare, for example, (although I would love to schedule in my toddler’s tantrums for a week on Tuesday) but is great in office-based jobs where phone calls, emails and admin are constantly taking you away from the “real work” you need to do.
You have to be up for creating a few “systems” within your work life – five minutes at the beginning of each day for a long-term project you’re trying to chip away at, for example, but if you follow the instructions you genuinely do end up using your time more productively and feel more in control of your life.
Managed to leave some baby toys out for the BHF charity pick up this morning so hope that counts as doing one thing to make money, save it, or declutter!
It’s harder to get things done now the baby is crawling, and I know my days of ‘plonk him down and get on with something’ are numbered. I probably need to get more done in the evenings, and stop regarding my tv watching time as sacred. In fact, I think there are a few assumptions I need to question if I’m to be more productive. And one of these is my right to do nothing in the evenings. Granted, it’s all I feel like doing most nights thanks to busy days that start early and broken nights, but I suspect that doing something towards my ‘sorting stuff out’ goal in the evenings might be more energising, in a strange way. Maybe if I limit it to 20 mins or something, I can still watch some telly but feel I’ve achieved something too.
I wanted to share a very simple internet tool, but one that’s pretty helpful if you like lists and your notebook always seems to be missing (or the pen – toddler, I’m looking at YOU). The website teuxdeux basically manages your to do list. You put it in for the day you want, then cross it out when you’ve done it. If you don’t cross it out, it automatically moves onto the next day.
I don’t bother with my lists on weekends, but for weekdays it’s great to help keep some semblance of order – and very satisfying to cross them off when I’ve completed them. I just need to make sure they’re ‘proper’ things to do (and not things like, ‘have shower, eat lunch’ etc). Although some days that’s an achievement in itself…