Life Tracking

How do you keep track of the big and small details of your life? Do you use a traditional to-do list, the post-it method, or maybe it's the "all in my head" philosophy?

My four-pronged approach includes my Calendar, Forward Lists, Project List, and Action List.  These four documents sum up my "life tracking" system.  In other words, it's how I keep track of my life and how I make sure my life stays on track.

The Calendar

I use this for appointments and any tasks that are date-specific.  The boys' soccer games, service calls, and article deadlines all go on my Calendar.

The Forward List

These are lists that I make when I dream a little dream.  If I come across something that I can't act on in the near future, I put it in the appropriate Forward List.  By keeping these items in a designated area, I don't lose them, but I don't have to think about them everyday either. Examples of Forward Lists include Books to Read, Article Ideas, Items to Purchase, Hobbies to Consider, and Curriculum to Review.

The Project List

I am a project lover.  I have many interests, and my iron is in many fires.  The Project List gives me a high-level view of all of the "big rocks" that I am currently working on.  Anything that is multi-task in nature, such as planning a trip to South Dakota, organizing the basement, or planting a garden, goes on the Project List.

The Action List

The Action List is the front-line of my planning system.  I regularly look over my Forward Lists & Project List and move next tasks from those lists to my Action List.  This is essentially what David Allen of Getting Things Done fame would call a "next action."  All of my next actions go on my Action List, along with any one-time tasks I need to accomplish.  Taking out the trash, calling Mom, and making a trip to the drug store are all appropriate activities for the Action List.  I also break up my Action List into contexts – often by where I need to do them.  By batching tasks in this manner, I can optimize my use of time.

As we know, any planning is better than no planning.  Better yet, though, is a plan you can use for life.  By breaking down your approach to daily planning into activity-specific lists, you will start to see some real progress toward your key goals.


Write a comment:


Your email address will not be published.

Copyright ©2013

Email the Professor!