May 11, 2019
Twice in the past week I forgot to pack something in my backpack that I needed for the day. In both cases it was frustrating and easily avoidable since I have a nightly task in my todo list to pack my bag for the next day. That task doesn't specify exactly what I need to pack, it's just a nightly reminder to actually perform the task before I go to bed. The fact that I completed the task of packing was a mirage. It felt good to check it off as "done" but I hadn't really done it. Forgetting the proper way to do a task is almost as bad as not remembering to do it in the first place.
This got me thinking about the return on investment of writing tasks.
With a client recently, I was stressing the importance of writing tasks in your todo list with as much detail as possible. Write to the future version of yourself as if you're writing to an entirely different person. You simply won't remember the facts and nuance about the task that you know when you're capturing it. The return on investment of the extra 20 seconds of writing is enormous. The extra few words that you type could save you tons of time or frustration down the road.
Now, my nightly "Pack your bag" task has eleven subtasks. Yes, eleven. It does feel a little silly to admit that, but now I know that my routine is a little tighter and the extra few seconds of deliberate focus will save me a lot of frustration down the road. It's a good principle in practice. Your task list isn't doing it's job if you're not putting the right information into it.
A couple changes
I've had great response to my newsletter since I've started. It's important to me to only write when there's something valuable to write about. So, I'm getting rid of the "monthly" schedule for more of an unscheduled approach. I'll write when the mood strikes me and I'll always try to keep it short.
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I have openings coming up this summer for new clients. If you or a friend are looking to rethink or just fine-tune your productivity, please reach out.