I’m struggling yet again to get a handle on all the things I should be doing: presently I have 39 projects spread out over 9 areas of responsibility and 435 tasks. (I use Things on my iMac, iPhone and iPad to organize all of this.)
This is just crazy – or at least it drives me crazy.
The problem isn’t Things – it’s an outstandingly excellent program. It’s more fundamental. I’ve fallen into the habit of focusing on all those specific tasks, projects etc. – but I’m not focusing on how or how well I do them.
While I have hundreds of things to do at any given time, what I actually do on the business side of my life is a fairly short list:
- Code – and everything that goes into shipping good working code.
- Write – from 14o character Tweets to 80 thousand word books.
- Market – be it StartupToDo.com, the Startup Success Podcast, my various books/ebooks, or my consulting services.
- Converse with people in groups, in person, via email, on IM, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- Learn – be it coding/creating better, what’s going on, what people I know are up to.
- Technical Admin – from the care and feeding of WordPress to finally getting off GoDaddy.
- Admin – all the usual trivia.
And that’s it.
What if instead of toiling to push through never-ending lists of things to do, I focused on creating and improving custom approaches to the 7 kind of work I do?
For writing, for instance, have a checklist of the things I should do when I write (like straighten out its and it’s and proofread twice) and be able to clamp that on a given Task. And for bigger things – like getting together a podcast episode – have a template project that already has all the things in it I need to do. And make the effort to keep improving how I do things, not just get more and more done.
Tasks cry out for attention – like everything else in this world. But if we get off the assembly line of ToDo’s rushing at us, maybe, just maybe, we can improve how we do what we do and improve the results we do all those tasks for.