Do you leave paperwork & projects out in plain sight thinking this will remind you to tackle them? There is a better way!
Most of us have more to do than we can easily remember. Some of us have taken to leaving important items “out where we can see them” as a memory tool. In reality, this system frequently fails for a couple of reasons.
- Items get concealed. Due to the limited amount of horizontal space in a home or office, items on surfaces frequently get layered over with clutter. Paperwork, business cards and scraps of paper quickly become obscured. Sometimes we try to combat this by putting items on the floor, but the same thing can happen here (not to mention other calamities which can befall items underfoot!) The natural consequence is that whatever we were hoping to remember via visual stimulation can no longer be seen, and thus is forgotten.
- The sheer volume of visible reminders renders them ineffective. Most of us naturally accustom ourselves to our environment. If we work in a space which is characterized by piled papers, reminder notes, and clutter, we get used to looking at them. Their presence fails to catch our attention, and therefore doesn’t incite us to action.
- Items get accidentally moved or pitched. Frequently, we find ourselves with a need to “tidy up”… maybe guests are coming over, a meeting needs to take place, or we need to eat at the table. Unfortunately, this action renders our staging system useless. We lose track of the locations to which items have been relocated, and once again forget to deal with them.
What’s a better system? To ensure that you don’t forget important tasks, the secret is to schedule them. Every task should be scheduled into your day. The Seana Method suggests you begin by selecting a planning system. This can be a paper system (e.g. a Filofax) or an electronic version (e.g. Google Calendar). What is most important is that you commit to recording everything in one place. Here are the steps:
- As a task come into your life open your planner. Look at today, tomorrow, and the next ten days.
- Take note of what parts of your time have already been committed to other tasks (e.g. meetings, appointments, projects, games, etc.)
- Estimate how long the task will take.
- Schedule when you will work on this task, either by physically writing it down or by entering it digitally. Remember to leave some “blank space” in each day to handle unexpected developments.
- At the end of the day, evaluate how you did in accomplishing your goals.
- Reschedule any items which you did not complete.
One of the great benefits of this approach is that it gives you the ability to schedule tasks far in advance. For example, if you need to remember to give the dog medicine at the beginning of next month, instead of leaving it out the counter for a month, you can simply “flip ahead” and schedule it in your system.
By looking at your available time, and thoughtfully planning when you will work on your various chores, you will increase the likelihood that the tasks will get done. Over time, you will also develop a better sense of how long your various responsibilities actually take, and thus become an increasingly efficient planner.
For more information on planning your time, contact The Seana Method on the form above.