I fall prey to procrastination sometimes. People have recommended making schedules or writing to-do lists. Here’s my issue with those; they don’t fit my personality. I like to be flexible and go with the creative flow. The energy I would expend planning my day down to the minute and trying to stay on schedule, could be better used. If I am working on a project and I know it will take an extra half an hour to get it right, I’ll take that time. If a valued client calls and says, “A new venture just came up, would you be able to create a mock-up for me ASAP?” If I can, then the answer is yes. I don’t want to stress about adhering to a perfectly crafted schedule.
The problem I find with to-do lists is that they feed a procrastinator’s cravings. Essentially you are making a list of things to do later. See the predicament? Here’s my solution. I call it the Do It NOW List. If you can’t do it now, then don’t put it on the list. Stop and think of all the things you could be doing at that moment like responding to an email, writing a blog post, loading the dishwasher, or designing your client’s website. Then write them all down. Of course you just made a list of things to do, but the difference is you can perform each task immediately after the other. If you know you can’t finish that magazine layout until you get the final images from the photographer tomorrow, then don’t put it on the list. If you can’t go to the grocery store to pick up milk until your brother returns the car (who knows when), then don’t put it on the list. The Do It NOW List is strictly for the short term. It also gives you freedom to write down things that may have seemed too trivial to put on the all important to-do list i.e. change the batteries in the remote.
My long term goals are usually big and will get done in due time, but there are simpler tasks in my day to be completed that sometimes fall victim to procrastination. I’m hoping that the Do It NOW List will provide me more focus, so that I get more done in a day. It’s a new concept for me, but I will let you know how it goes. I’ve also created a Do It NOW List print out available to download. I would like to hear from you. Do exacting schedules and regular to-do lists work for you or are you more like me?
P.S. I do have a list of long term projects that I keep on my desktop using a free Adobe Air Application called Doomi. It’s always running so if I have a new idea, say for a wallpaper, I can quickly jot it down.
UPDATE: I just StumbledUpon this interesting idea for the To Do List Lovers. It’s called the ToDo-Tattoo by Fred & Friends. “Our To-Do Tattoo kit includes 12 graphic “To Do” forms that you can apply to your body wherever it’s most convenient (or creative) and a skin-safe, washable-ink gel pen.” Anyone ever tried this? Leave a comment below.