Day 199: Checklists and productivity

Here’s where I’ve landed on the productivity thing: I’m going to be cloning my work system, but on per-project basis. Checklists and productivity work well together for me. And since I have a lot of me-only projects, and I don’t have a lot of dependencies, checklists work. I don’t have to keep track of what other people are doing, mostly.

Productivity Alchemy isn’t available on Stitcher (yet?), so I haven’t been listening to it as much as I’d like. I have one podcast app. It’s one of the things that keeps my life a little more streamlined. So if I’m missing out on some podcasts, so it goes. My choice.

The aforementioned Productivity Alchemy is being discussed on MetaFilter, which has all sorts’a interesting productivity methods in that thread. Ctrl-F “Aggravations List” for a really cool approach to the problem. Here’s mine.

Checklists and productivity and portability, oh my!

At work, I use Sublime Text and a package called PlainTasks to create todo lists. There’s a bunch of things I like about this combination of things…

  • It’s super simple, easy to read, easy to follow.
  • Sublime has folding features, so I can collapse up tasks that have subtasks associated with them.
  • File sizes and load times are teeny tiny.
  • It’s easy to mark things as done, and then they turn grey and are struck through with the time you marked them as done written right next to them. Good psychologically, and also for tracking.

So my general methodology is to have a daily to-do list. As I move through the day, I zero my inbox by adding things to it. I tick things off as they get done. Almost no task is too small to be added, unless it’s really a less-than-one-minute thing.

Every morning, I write today’s date, copy yesterday’s list, paste it up under the new date. Then I delete all the done items. Catch up on overnight email and add new tasks to the list.

One of the things I like about this is that it makes a very long, searchable text. So if I’m wondering about a project’s status, I can search for it, and see (usually) a hand-off task on my end and when it was done.

So I’m trying to implement this at home. I’m thinking it might be best to tackle it as a document per project, rather than one total intimidating to-do list. That way, when time allows, I can peck away at any of a number of things instead of living in a constant feeling of overwhelmed panic.