Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The little black book

In the time I've spent as a professional person working a responsible job, I have mostly had to rely on lists and whiteboard and things of that nature to ensure I'm covering all the bases to which I've been assigned.  Keeping stuff like that solely in my head simply doesn't work, and the embarrassment of saying 'Oh dear I forgot to do that' when someone's tapping the ol' manila folder on the edge of my desk just isn't a place I want to be or a shame I want to experience any more.

Thus, lists.

Now that I'm not in cublicleland, there's no whiteboard for me to layout my timelines upon, no flexible repository for my progress against goals.  No, there's none of that.  Instead, I am becoming reliant on the little black book, a real page-turner that all too often says the same thing on Page B as it did on Page A, with some small tweak to indicate that progress had been made against goals.

Every day I write down what I understand my daily goals to be, and every NEXT day I review them, rewrite the ones I didn't get to, check my calendar to be doubly sure I'm not missing anything (I usually am), and start all over again.

For the past 3 days I've had the same top 2 tasks to do, so I assigned them a DUE DATE today, and thus they will get done.  Due dates are my self-imposed hell, but they motivate me to perform when I would allow many a thing to languish until somebody hollered for it (my past work-life balanced depended on this).  However, the new job has a much more insidious master: THE DATABASE.

If you are late initiating a task, the DB will let you know. When a date is approaching for action, the DB will tell you, then tell you again if you didn't respond appropriately the first time.  The DB will tell you when a task is coming up and when it's gone screaming past you, only to be viewable in the rear-view mirror of regret.

In other words - the DB rules the calendar.

Thus, my notebook is refreshed every day with things I need to do to keep ahead of the DB, to keep that ol' head above water while learning to swim in the deep end.  The DB is like a terrible coach, pulling a student under to teach them how to float.

But I shall win this, and the DB will not drown me.

My little black notebook says so.

Do you have an organizational system that works for you?  Our household chores are updated daily on a whiteboard, which works for the family as a whole, but these individual work goals must travel with me...and I don't have a smartphone.

OK then, with this dull entry over, it's

Tiff out (to go do items A and B, then C, and possibly D before it's time to pack it all in for the day).


kenju said...

List upon list. Even my lists have post-it notes with even more lists. I trust nothing to memory any more, since attaining the great age of 75 - it doesn't work so well. I think post-perfusion syndrome is at fault too.

renn said...

I write a To Do List every day. It mirrors my former list from my Employed Days, but includes "apply for work", "work for Creative Guy" (part time), "work in Garden A/B", "do laundry", "make X for dinner" and "go to the dentist".

I write it on a steno pad. My final list item is the same every day: "Write list for tomorrow". I can't control much these days, but I can control my list. 😊

Middle Girl said...

Lists. Calendars. And I try to pack some focus in my satchel. ;-)

oldfriend said...

Kanban board. Use post its and any vertical surface. Allows you to easily sort (make a new category! restick in a new order!) and to see when you are over capacity (because you are only supposed to work on a smaller number of things to get them done in a more timely fashion than paralleling a number of tasks, which makes them each longer.) WHEW that was a run-on parenthetical statement, wasn't it? But hopefully you get my drift. You saw this in action on my basement door during the renovation.