The Double To-Do List

At my new gig, I manage all things social for 25 (and growing) franchise locations, I blog for three work related sites, write press releases and just generally spend all day writing and managing a boat load of different projects. Being creative all day everyday can be draining, so in order to keep myself inline and on task, I have to be really well organized, especially with my to-do list.

When it comes to getting work tasks completed, I’m always on the ball, but at home, I’m more than happy to let my clothes pile up on the floor. Everyone needs a little chaos in their life, right? Since living with The Republican he’s forced me to keep my piling to a minimum, which is probably isn’t the worst thing (but I’ll never tell him that.) Anyway…

How do I manage my constantly growing to do list? Easy. With two to-do lists! Why two? Let me explain. Every Friday near the end of my day I block out a 20 minute period of time to sit and think about my upcoming week. I prefer Friday afternoon verses Monday morning because it allows me to process what didn’t get completed this week, and assess how productive I’ve been. It also sets me up to hit the ground running on Monday instead of trying to cobble something together while fighting the urge to crawl back into bed. Mondays can be hard people.

On Friday I create a master to do list. Everything I could possible have to do in the near future goes on the list. I have a separate side column where I keep ideas and tasks on the back burner — they’re on my radar, but not quite on my to do list yet. I used to get really crazy and categorize my master list (Social, Email, Blog etc) but I stopped. Once my master list is done it’s time to start prioritizing. Here is where the second list comes in.

My second to-do list is day specific, but I only create them a day in advance. After I finish creating my master list, I stick a pink stickie on the bottom corner and label it Monday. Because stickies aren’t that big, it only allows me to fit 5-6 tasks. These are the things I absolutely need to work on come Monday. At the end of every work day if I still have tasks left on my stickie, I roll them over to the next day, or if they’re no longer a priority, they simply remain on the master to do list. I repeat this step at the end of each work day with a new stickie.

We’re all swamped. The key is finding a system that works for you. Over the years I’ve found splitting my to do list into day specific lists allows me to keep my head above water and generally get way more done. My system is always evolving, but for me the double to do is here to stay.

What organizational strategy do you utilize?

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