View Full Version : To do list at work


Stev'o
09-21-16, 01:18 PM
I know this has been covered, but was too impatient to find it.
So I keep a to do list at work, try to log what I'm doing every hour or three, trying to see where I may be losing time.
But my to do list just keeps growing. Even though I'm getting things done, I keep thinking of things that need to be done. Then talking with my crew, more things are added.
Also trying to focus on essential/value added things. Sometimes I feel like I'm running in water.

stef
09-21-16, 01:29 PM
The thing to remember, is its a guide, not a list of things that all must be done " today". As compared to a list of chores you may write up for the weekend.

The list will keep changing as you finish things and get new things. Keep it in a simple format and dont worry about ever accomplishing everything on it :)

ToneTone
09-21-16, 03:04 PM
Yes, you need to probably not have one perpetual do list ... But a do list for specific days .. a medium term do list and a longer term to do list.

You definitely want to give yourself praise and credit when you complete items and if you keep adding to the to do list I can see where that would undermine your morale.

The challenge I have and I think a lot of ADHDers have is to prioritize. The goal is to focus on the most important "to do" tasks .... Like in my job, I could respond to emails all day, but frankly, emails aren't important or urgent in my job.

But see if you can prioritize ... a part of good planning is to figure out what NOT to try to do ...

Good luck.

Tone

acdc01
09-21-16, 03:49 PM
When I have a to-do list, it only consists of the things I'm going to do on that one day. I have a separate calendar where I note what tasks are due on which particular days. I often times not only list a task but few subtasks on the calendar that way I do each task step by step instead of waiting till the last minute.

On days I make a to-do list (days when I'm feeling overwhelmed and the calendar isn't enough), I make my daily to-do list first thing in the morning. I put the number of hours I expect each task to take right next to the task on the list so I can gauge whether I'm doing things in a timely manner and also whether I actually have time to complete all the tasks on my list.

I stick with only those particular tasks on my daily to-do-list unless something more important comes up. When someone asks me to do something else I look at my daily to- list and think, is this task a greater priority than the other tasks I have on my list? I can look at my calander of final due dates to help me prioritize. If what was requested takes priority, I add the task to my daily to-do list and take away another task or tasks based on the # of hours I expect the new task to take. That deleted task is already listed in my calendar so it's not like it's gone off my radar if I delete it off my daily to do list.

I cross off completed tasks both on my calendar and my daily to-do-list once I'm done with it.

KarmanMonkey
09-21-16, 04:22 PM
Hearing what you're describing, you might benefit from adopting one of the principles of Kanban... "WIP Limits"

In Kanban, the concept is that there can only be X things that are Work In Progress. Ideally, the number is tiny. The goal is to have the WIP limit be as close to 1 task as possible. Once you reach your WIP limit and something "needs" to be added, you have one of three choices:

1) Park the new item. It is off your radar and on the "future jobs" list until something gets completed.

2) Dogpile. Bring in extra resources to get something on your list done NOW to make room for the new item.

3) Demote a WIP. Something in progress is deemed less urgent than the new one, and gets put on hold to make way for the new one.

Option 3 is the one you want to avoid whenever possible. Keeping the tasks small and manageable makes 2 become the easiest, and 1 becomes easier as well because you know that things will be moving along in their own time.

I haven't gotten Kanban going here at work yet, but it's a system that can be achieved with post-it's and a board with a few columns. You can even use different colours of post-it's for different types or priorities of tasks.

For time tracking you can add the date and time when you put it in your WIP column, and jott down the date and time when you finish it. It doesn't tell you how much time you invested, but it does show you how long it takes to clear certain things off your desk; where the bottlenecks are.

It's also a system that you can communicate to your colleagues; that if they have a new item they can add their own post-it. If it's urgent or time sensitive, they can put a little sticker or something on it :-) This means they can draw something to your attention without interrupting your work.

A lot depends on what your job looks like, and who you work with. Personally I find it hard to keep all my to-do's straight, so I need something that helps me keep everything straight. I've found a site that helps me organise myself, but I like the idea of the "primative" post-it system, as it's more organic and easier for office-mates to support.

EDIT: One of the worst things when I was working in IT was "Feature Creep". Nothing killed a deadline like adding a new feature 1/3 of the way through the project. The best development models have a firm deadline on new items, and everything else gets parked for the next version.

Nytroflow
09-21-16, 05:06 PM
You probably already know about scrum tactics but having a simple board like THIS (https://d2v4zi8pl64nxt.cloudfront.net/best-of-agile-for-seo-management/53ff96500eef02.20318786.jpg) helped me a lot during busy times working in app development (atleast for a while). The cool thing is you can customise it every way you want to make it work for you and the people working with you.
plus making rules like , no more than 3 things in this or that step will probably do wonders.

I don't really know why this helped me and my business partner at the time managing 7 ppl (maybe I just love post its :D) but I could not have done some projects without this tool.

Cyllya
09-21-16, 11:20 PM
I use a process of multiple tiers of to-do lists. Here's what it looks like at work:

One list for all projects that need to get done, both in the near future and someday in the far away future. (This is set up with a sharepoint list so that each project's entry on the list can hold various information regarding the project. Folks that assign me projects can put things directly onto the list. Very often they give me tasks via another medium and I'll input the tasks on this list myself. These can have a status, priority, and due date set on each entry, so I can sort and filter by those factors.)

I make a separate list of projects I'm planning to work on each week. (This is in the form of a simple bulleted list emailed to my manager.) In practice, what's on this list and what gets worked on don't match up very closely, but having this list helps keep urgent stuff "on the radar" and keeps me from having to shift through the clutter of the main list every time I need to select another thing to work on. If I had to go to the main list every time, not only would that make it easy for urgent stuff to get lost, it would also just be a huge hassle (stressful).

(For a while, I had a "list" for projects in progress, e.g. stuff on the main list that had actually been started. This took the form of a set of post-its on a board. I retired this one after I started the weekly emails to my manager.)

I sometimes make a to-do list of the steps in an individual project. Whether I make the list, what kinds of things are on it, what form it takes, etc., depends on the needs of the project/situation.

Sometimes I make a to-do list for each day. This is handwriting on a piece of paper (or a single post-it note).

I think the main helpful point is to just make sure the "near future" stuff can be viewed by itself without being mixed in with the "someday" stuff.

anonymouslyadd
09-22-16, 05:24 PM
I know this has been covered, but was too impatient to find it.
So I keep a to do list at work, try to log what I'm doing every hour or three, trying to see where I may be losing time.
But my to do list just keeps growing. Even though I'm getting things done, I keep thinking of things that need to be done. Then talking with my crew, more things are added.
Also trying to focus on essential/value added things. Sometimes I feel like I'm running in water.
The same thing happens to me. I think we need to limit how many items go on a list, but I don't have a strategy for it.

I think we need structure on this one, like we do everything else. For instance, sometimes I'll set a timer for ten minutes when I journal. When that ten minutes is up, I stop writing.

KarmanMonkey
09-23-16, 08:51 AM
The same thing happens to me. I think we need to limit how many items go on a list, but I don't have a strategy for it.

I think we need structure on this one, like we do everything else. For instance, sometimes I'll set a timer for ten minutes when I journal. When that ten minutes is up, I stop writing.

From what I've read, as soon as we have fewer things on our "active" list, the more smoothly our day goes. It's similar to a state of mind that is helpful to me; the more I can just be present in the moment and focusing on what I'm working on, the better off I am. ADD makes that a tall order though.

As far as developing a strategy, I don't think we necessarily need one right away. As long as we can separate our task parking lot into "Mission critical", "Important", and "would be nice", then it's a simple matter of grabbing the oldest post-it from the highest pile. If someone asks after a task, it can get moved up in the priority list.

The big part is keeping the list small, and taking a few minutes three times a day (first thing before opening e-mail, after lunch, and before going home) to sift through and make sure there's at least a vague plan, knowing that plan isn't necessarily going to resemble reality.

Personally I've been falling short of this last bit lately, mainly because I feel a bit like I'm adrift in my job. I need to anchor myself to the work again, and am trying to figure out how.

sarahsweets
09-23-16, 08:57 AM
I dont know what it is-but its like I rebel when Ive made a to-do list. Also I get overwhelmed.