We are often told to divide our tasks according to how often we need to do them. I had some problems with this approach:
Too many lists ! I am a visual processor with attention deficit problems. When I see too much stuff, it irritates me and I tend to ignore it.
Logistic problems: where do the bi-weekly and bi-yearly tasks go ? How do I divide the monthly tasks into manageable chunks ? This leads to:
Procrastination: When I saw a big pile of weekly or monthly tasks looming, I either got virtuous and tried to tackle it on that day (fail), or I but re-scheduling them on other days messed up my lists even more.
Now I have a different method:
Instead of trying to organise all my tasks into different categories, I focus on each task separately. I decide how often it has to be done, and when exactly (every thursday, or every 1st january). Then I forget it, until my scheduler reminds me of it.
Every time I add a recurring tasks, I only need to think about how often I want to do it. Then I choose a day that would suit the task and has a free window of time. Cleaning the bathroom is every Monday. Washing the trash cans is every 30th of the month. Updating the medicine cabinet is twice a year: 15th April and 15 Oct.
Once it's added to my list, it won't appear and bother me until it's time to actually do it.
I let todoist manage my tasks. I love it because it's uncluttered, easy to use, and yet has some powerful features. (Which you can totally ignore if you don't need them --- unlike some services which make you set a priority or due date on everything). It's really easy to get several different overviews of your tasks (by list, by tag, by due date, by priority, etc)
I use different lists for different tasks (like a list for my hoop-dance moves that I want to learn, or gardening tasks, or kids-oriented, and so on). But these are only for getting an overview. They integrate seamlessly into my daily task list.
When I open my to-do list, I simply see what I have to do each day. Everything has a rhythm, and no day is over-filled.
Do you have a way to deal with tasks that are not daily ? Which is your favourite planning software -- or do you prefer pen and paper ? Do you like to have a "monthly / annual chores day", or do you prefer to sneak these tasks into your daily schedule ?
Photo by Marc Johns