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jonasbn (1153)

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Perl Programmer located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Active member of Copenhagen Perl Mongers.

Author of:

  • Business::DK::CPR
  • Business::DK::CVR
  • Business::DK::PO
  • Business::OnlinePayment::CashCow
  • Date::Holidays
  • Date::Holidays::Abstract
  • Date::Holidays::Super
  • Date::Pregnancy
  • Games::Bingo
  • Games::Bingo::Bot
  • Games::Bingo::Print
  • Module::Info::File
  • Module::Template::Setup
  • Test::Timer

and maintainer of:

  • Tie::Tools
  • XML::Conf
  • Workflow

Journal of jonasbn (1153)

Wednesday October 31, 2007
03:48 AM

Will this todo list EVER get shorter?

[ #34798 ]

My TODO list is long - 24 points and I am not even listing articles I am writing on, CPAN modules I am maintaining since these have their own TODOs. There is also stuff I want to try out and articles and books I would like to read.

The other day I was actually able to clean up my email inbox, so currently I am down to 21 mails. Some which are kept until I can clear a TODO point, others are flagged for follow-up.

My current contract is finishing today and I am moving on to another 3 month contract in the same company, different department however.

I need to somehow get this list shaved down to an absolute minimum, since the sheer number of TODOs are wearing me down.

Any life-hackers out there who can offer advice?

Currently I am addressing mails the moment they appear, either they are deleted or flagged, others are archived and a TODO is created.

I have tried with a strategy of shortest task first, this works out quite well, but only give an impression that of progress since, larger and longer tasks to not go away, they simply get postponed.

I wonder how people get the time to all the things they seem to accomplish I feel unproductive, slow, lazy and stupid

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  • I highly, highly recommend that you read David Allen's Getting Things Done. Among other things, it clarifies the purpose of keeping lists (getting "stuff" out of your brain to free your brain to be productive), gives a process for managing your lists, and has useful advice on making sure your lists are actionable (keeping it granular to just the "next action").

    Moreover, he describes himself as the laziest person in the world and his system as the simplest thing that could work -- in other words, it's des

    • Yes, GTD is fairly widely used. Also, there are tools for every platform to help you keep lists designed specifically for GTD if you don't want the low-tech approach. I've even had GTD training, but alas it doesn't seem to fit with my brain. I just can't convince myself that I'm better off with all of that stuff 'out' of my brain.

      One other comment: I believe the common wisdom is not to select tasks based on duration (quick tasks) although it's tempting. The recommendation I've heard is to keep your list pri
      • The subtlety I've found is that once tasks are on a list, then importance and urgency is relevant, but when a new task comes up, if the time to just do it is not much longer than the time to put it into the "system", then it's worth just doing it then. A couple minutes seems to be the rule.

        The problem I've found with prioritization is that my priorities shift too rapidly due to external, client factors and therefore the energy to update priorities on a list is just a frictional loss. People with more st

    • I've read GTD and agree to the principles. I even have some GTD posters on my office walls. It's just that I still haven't gotten round to fully implementing it (so I'm still stuck in a world where I forget to do stuff).

      Could you gives the rest of us some details about those 12 files? Do you split by priority, scope (home, work), size (tasks vs. projects), etc? How are those files organized?

      • I, too, have a lot of leakage in my system -- don't let it be a barrier. I'm not good at finding regular time for weekly reviews and emptying my head onto paper. But whenever I do, I kick myself for not doing it more often. Several of the practices work well individually, though I do think they work better collectively.

        I can describe my system a bit more, but it's an evolving thing, not static, and it's based on some of the particular contexts I deal with. For example, I travel a lot to clients' offic

  • If you're in the habit of handling incoming mail as soon as it comes in, you may be spending too much time switching contexts. What would happen if you set your mail polling interval to two or four hours?

    (If you're already doing this, then I misunderstood what you wrote.)

  • Taken into consideration that checking the incoming mails and acting on them might disturb what I am already doing and the context switching will make you loose focus.

    So your suggestion is not a bad idea at all.

    I can however ignore my mailbox and the little red counter in the dock, if I am programming or something.

    I can also postpone the mail processing if I am busy, so I just scan the subjects and senders and if it is not my wife or something extremely important I can go back to what I was doing. The situa