I’m really a list-type of guy – for whatever I need to do, I love to make a list: shopping lists, travel preparation, standard operating procedures for my SEO agency, everything!
As a result, using task lists to organize the work I was doing, was just natural for me – and I had been sticking to this productivity method for years, until I realized my “natural” productivity method had quite a few flaws:
- planning ahead was almost impossible – even using with Teamwork PM as a project management system, I still couldn’t wrap my head around planning 1 or 2 weeks ahead.
- I hardly ever was able to finish my task lists until the end of the day, which always made me feel like I didn’t achieve what I had proposed – seeing myself forced to constantly postpone tasks to the next day, and the day after that, etc.
- even after a few years of working with task lists, I was still not able to correctly plan what I would be able to achieve on a certain day.
- while crossing off tasks is a great feeling, task lists felt more of a “try to always be busy” method than a real productivity tool.
So at some point, I switched from my task list to my Gooogle Calendar – a step that I’m still very happy about, as it skyrocketed my performance (both real performance + felt productivity).
Here is how this works for me right now (still tweaking the system sometimes):
- repetitive tasks get their day assigned
- tasks for clients (paid) get marked in dark blue
- company internal tasks (not paid) are marked with light blue color
- family time is marked in purple
- me-time spots (fitness workouts, meeting friends) are marked in green
Whenever there is something coming up, or somebody asks me to do XYZ for them, I need to find an appropriate time slot in my calendar and assign it properly.
The calendar, at the same time, is combined with Calendly, the solution I use so that clients and people interested in working with me can use to book time with me.
In sync at home
From a private point of view, it’s also been a win: whenever my wife has an appointment, a business call or whatever, she notes it in her calendar which gets synchronized with mine – so I always know ahead of time when I’ll need to be at home with my kids and won’t be able to attend any calls.
Give it a try
In case you’re facing a similar situation like I did, with tasks accumulating on your task list without proper organization, I’d highly suggest you give it a try: moving all you have to do to your calendar within your working hours forces you to assign time slots in a realistic way – at least for me and my productivity, this move did wonders.