I wrote about the way I use lists some weeks ago and said that I basically use two different lists to organize myself:
- A list of open projects
- A to-do list
If you looked at the second one, you would basically see three kinds of items:
1. One time (or a few times) tasks
They belong to a specific project and, once they are completed, I forget about them. Some examples of my current open projects are:
- Resource center
- Trip to San Diego
- Digital competencies framework
- Winter vacation
2. Items that doesn’t qualify exactly as a task
I create categories for this kind of items, so maybe I should call them sublists. Some examples:
- Products I need to buy
- Books I would like to read
- Things I have to discuss in a phone conversation with someone
- Topics I could cover on my blog
3. Recurring tasks
Here I put stuff I want to do in a regular basis as part of a category you could call My life. For example:
- Run three days a week
- Play tennis twice a week
- Check email twice a day
- Read every day
- Control family finances once a week
- Plan my week every Monday
When I complete one of these tasks, Todoist is set to create a new instance for the next due date. If I miss a workout or some other recurring task (and, with my busy schedule, it happens more than I would care to admit), then I postpone it manually.
I should talk about the risk of planning too many tasks. It will be another time, though, because I have some other stuff to do today 😉
Picture: IMG_0712 (Copia) (Luigi Mengato)
When traveling, I tend to be a light packer. I only bring the necessary clothes and documents and don’t put too much stuff in my toilet bag: a roll-on deodorant, a dental kit and a razor. For obvious reasons, I don’t even bring a comb 😉
But then, when it comes to electronics, everything changes…
I’m traveling to the United States in a few days and this evening I made a list of everything I will put into my suitcase. This is what the electronics category looks like:
- Laptop power adapter
- Smartphone (and ebook reader) charging cable
- Portable battery charger
- US Sim card
- Smartphone mount (for the car)
- Running watch
- Running watch charging cable
- Ebook reader
- Dashcam power adapter
- USB car plug adapter
- US to Euro plug adapter
- 6 outlet power strip
I won’t say I’m terrified because I’m used to it. But it’s crazy, isn’t it?
How I use lists
Some weeks ago, at the beginning of a work meeting, I suggested using my list of open projects so we wouldn’t forget anything. Immediately, a workmate stared at me and asked, Don’t you keep a list to help you remember all your lists?
So, apparently, my workmates are so used to seeing me putting items on lists that they have concluded that I use a lot of them. Actually, I don’t normally use more than two lists:
- A list of open projects
- A to-do list
List of open projects
This is a document hosted on Google Drive. It’s pretty simple: just a table with three columns:
|Sequential number||Name of the project||State of the project|
I update the relevant cells as the projects evolve. I don’t do it on a daily basis but approximately every 7-10 days. When there is a new project, I add a new row at the end of the table; when a project is finished, I leave it there for some time and finally delete it.
I use Todoist for this. I write down all the tasks that need to be done and categorize them under the open projects I’ve got at any given moment. As I also use Todoist for personal purposes, it’s running all the time on my laptop or smartphone.
The big picture and the details
Do you work with lists? If so, how do you do it? I think my system works because it’s simple and allows me to see the big picture (the open projects list) and the details (the to-do list) at the same time. What do you think about it?
Picture: To Do List (Beth Snow)
I’ve been an independent consultant for ten years. During that time I’ve worked mostly in Spain and Latin America, with a short experience in the United States. I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to a large number of projects and to work together with a lot of people from around the world. Working for oneself is hard (uncertainty, long working days, no paid holidays or not holidays at all…) but rewarding (new challenges all the time, a good pay when things go well and flexibility to manage the one own’s agenda). If I had to summarize these ten years, I would say it’s been a great time.
But I’ve come to a point where I felt I needed a change. Being a consultant, it always came the moment when I had to let the project go. Then, the client continued working on it and I started something new for someone else (and I took it to the point where I had to let it go… again). After all these years, I had the need to work in something from the beginning… and then continue developing it over time.
A few months ago, I was hired (again, as a consultant) by the University of Vic – Central University of Catalonia. We knew each other because I taught there from 2006 to 2010. I had to help them to plan the university digital transformation. It was a common project: they told me what they had done so far and we worked together identifying all the possibilities, writing the goals, etc. At the end, I delivered my final reports and everything was ready to continue as usual.
But this time was different because they came to the conclusion that they needed someone who could lead the project after my collaboration. They were satisfied with the work I had done, and for me this seemed to be what I was looking for. The rest, as they say, is history. Wish me good luck with this new and exciting challenge 🙂