Every week I put together a to-do list for the weekend and every week I struggle to get it all done. Something always comes up that makes it a challenge to get the list checked off. Sound familiar?
I am a long practicing student of David Allen’s Getting Things Done system of personal productivity. It’s seemingly simple times like this when I need it most. During the week I collect, on Friday I process, and on Saturday and Sunday I execute (as best I can.)
This weekend I started out with the standard items: Karate, laundry, a couple podcasts, and then added on the odd bits from work that get done after hours like a quick software upgrade. (Even the task to write this posting was on the list.) By Friday, my list is pretty full. It’s enough to make one’s head spin. Yet without that list each week, my weekend might be squandered away.
Life always seems to throw a curve ball at you. My wife will come up with an idea to watch the Flag Day parade with the kids. I look outside and see 72 degrees and sunny, how can I refuse? But the list is calling to me to get things checked off! That’s when I know it’s time to take a step back and look at priorities. Time with the wife and kids always wins over power washing the house. Sure, it sounds simple in that case. In others, there are things I really WANT to do, usually gadget based, that make the decision all that more difficult. Last weekend the weather wasn’t as nice and I told myself “forget the list for a while and go watch a movie.” The list gives you a sense of accomplishment, but getting away from the list for a while gives renewed energy to come back and attack it.
My recommendation to you, keep your list. Use it as a guide, not as a rule. When something unexpected comes up, emergency, family time, or whatever, step back and use your priorities to make the “macro judgement” as best as possible. Know that you still have the list when the new item is passed to keep getting things done.