Getting stuff out of your head and into a system is the first step to helping you take back control of your day to day.
I've written about this here.
As a long time user of Todoist, I want to some quick tips and tricks that could help you to stay on track.
Now that you've captured everything, what are the various ways to manage them. How do you actually make sure you do what's on the list?
First of all, is it a habit building task?
Not every goal is a grand, multi-step scheme. Some goals are small, consistent habits built over longer periods of time – making your bed every morning, reading 20 pages every day, setting aside one hour every day for learning.
If you need to develop a habit, then use recurring dates like "every day", "every week" or "every month". You can even add a time to the schedule.
As you complete the task, it will automatically reset for the next due date, so you don't forget it.
One of the great features of Todoist is the ability to use natural language - type how you would speak.
For example, if you have a task that needs to be done on the first of each month, just type "every first day".
Recurring tasks are ideal for getting your habits in check.
To help with organisation of my tasks, I also use projects; one of which is called "Routines". This is broken down into 'Daily', 'Weekly' and 'Monthly'. It helps when I'm reviewing my tasks, to check that they're still valid.
Other projects I use relate to work, this blog and podcast and also the Scout group that I'm involved with.
Tasks without a project live in the 'Inbox' - the default place for tasks.
Once we've set our tasks, don't just forget them. As they appear in your daily list, it's easy to ignore them as other things take over.
Working at doing your tasks are important to building habits, but if you find a task is no longer relevant, then use a weekly review to decide if it's still valid.
Re-evaluating your tasks is just as important as getting things done, and there's no shame in deleting them if they're no longer relevant.
Whilst I always review my next day tasks, each evening, I also review my goals, and see where I'm up to on a weekly basis. Create a recurring task to remind you to do this, at a time that's suitable - maybe on a Sunday afternoon or evening.
You may find that the goals need a tweak here or there, to make sure you stay on track.
Maybe you could use a Weekly Review Checklist, similar to this one from David Allen's methodology, Getting Things Done.
Collect loose papers and materials – Capture and sort items like receipts you’ve collected over the week.
Get “in” to empty – Process all of your notes, emails, texts, and any other “incoming” items.
Empty your head – Write down anything that’s taken up mind space recently but hasn’t been captured in your system.
Review “Next Actions” lists – Take a look at the tasks and reminders you have coming up.
Review previous calendar data – Check through the last 2-3 weeks of calendar items to look for any outstanding items of things that may require follow-up.
Review upcoming calendar – Look ahead at your calendar items. Ensure that anything you need to prepare for is captured on your task list.
Review “Waiting For” list – Reflect on outstanding items you need from others and make a note of what requires follow-up or impacts your own work.
Review “Projects” (and “Larger Outcome”) Lists – Look through any and all project lists to assess their progress and make additional action items to drive initiatives forward.
Review any relevant checklists – Assess any other lists that are relevant to work and life that may need your attention.
Review “Someday/Maybe” list – Check any lists such as “business ideas”, “vacation plans”, or “books to read” to check is “someday” might be “today”.
Be creative and courageous – This is an opportunity to make your dreams actionable - think of bold projects you can plan or interesting ideas you want to pursue.
Of course, a weekly review checklist should be completely individual. Certainly, use the above list as inspiration, but make sure to also include checklist items specific to your own particular workflow and goals. You can leave your checklist broad and inclusive or be specific and narrow.
It's important to be unbiased about your weekly review.
Don't spend too long on your review either. It will end up becoming monotonous, and you'll shy away from doing them. The review needs to be efficient.
Don't be hard on yourself, especially in the beginning. The weekly review is for your benefit, to help you be better next time, and into the future.
Remember - there's no right or wrong way to do a review. Maybe experiment with different formats until you find one that suits you.
Review time is also a good opportunity to be introspective. Ask yourself some questions too:
How do I feel I did this week?
What enabled me to reach my goals this week?
Has anything stopped me from reaching my goals this week?
Which actions did I take this week that will help me reach my long-term goals?
How can I improve for next week?
What can I do next week that will set me up for my long-term goals?
What should I plan for in the next month? Year? 5 Years?
I don't like that last question - the thought of planning 5 years ahead. I'm just happy to get to the end of the week, or month! Having said that, I do have spending goals, and this can also be accounted for in a review too.
Keep you answers in a journal, or create space in your weekly review and keep the answers short - otherwise you'll give up the habit.
Using Todoist for your Weekly Review
Create a new project called "Weekly Review"
You could use sections to set up your weekly review. There are any number of ways to organise your weekly review.
You might want to organise your weekly review so that it reflects the areas in your life you've decided to prioritise, such as “Work”, “Family”, “Health”, “Savings”, and “Home”.
Regardless of how you choose to structure your weekly review, sections are a flexible way to organise and divide your review session into distinct segments that help you cover it all.
Once you have your sections in place, add tasks under each one.
Pull directly from your checklist.
Add each item as a recurring task so you can mark them as “complete” one Sunday and have the task automatically reset for the following week.
Once you’ve set up your project, generated your sections, created your checklist items, and added any relevant details, you’re set for your weekly review in Todoist.
There’s just one last thing: add a recurring task to remind yourself to complete your weekly review so it becomes a habit.
A weekly review will save you time by helping you to focus on what helps you get things done. By taking a close and regular look at your performance, you're empowered to improve it.
Try Todoist today, to see how it can help you to stay on track.
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