This week I want to share a productivity tip/realisation that was a huge help this week.
I’ve had a lot on over the last few months which has meant my ‘to-do list’ hasn’t been moving as quickly as it usually does.
My traditional approach to creating my to-do list has been fairly lax with how I describe the tasks. For example, I had “tidy up and submit 4x AI papers” as one item on the list. My rationale has been that as long as the task is on the list, I’ll be able to remember to do it.
But I realised recently, when I’m spending last time working through my to-do list, this can be prohibitive: with the detail less at the front of my mind, I find it harder to recall what subcomponents constitute each task.
For example, when looking at the task “tidy and submit 4x AI papers”, I had to recall which papers there were and review the current state of each paper.
This week, while struggling with this, I remembered something I had read a few years back in Getting Things Done
and decided to re-structure the to-do list.
I converted each point into the next step required. The “tidy and submit 4x AI papers” become:
- Format references to [paper 1] and submit to [journal].
- Re-draft [paper 2] as per comments in Word Doc and send to [co-author] for review
- Find person interested in X to help finalise [paper 3], ready for submission
The simple act of describing what the next step was made everything feel much more manageable. Over the rest of the week, I dipped in and out of the to-do list as time allowed, and as a result of the re-structuring feel I was able to get far more done.
There’s still a lot left on my to-do list, but I feel much more confident that at any point in the future, having the tasks more clearly defined will make it easier to dip in and out of the list as time enables.