Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Great TODO List

Organizing and planning your work is tough. It's not hard to list everything you need to do, but prioritizing what you need to do can be an artform. For instance, do you focus on exploring a problem with the server (which is high-priority to your co-worker), editing a design document (which your boss wants done soon), or finding the root of that newest bug (which is really what I'm getting paid for)? There are definitely subtle tones of politics in these decisions, but I try to keep those matters out of my head when prioritizing.

I was discussing day-to-day planning tactics with some friends yesterday, and we found we all had different methods. I thought I'd share mine with you. I call it the Great TODO List. It's quite simple really. Anyone can start using this method immediately. The low-techness of it is astounding.

Step 1: Open Notepad
Step 2: Write down everything you need to do
Step 3: Put everything you need or want to do today at the top of the list

Amazing, isn't it?

Every day or so I go through the list and roughly prioritize what should be at the top that I may have forgotten about. As I go through the day, when I start to feel like I should be working on something else, I just consult the list, and pop from the top. Yes, the list is a stack.

The one downside to this method is that the list continually grows. I have stuff on my list from a few weeks back that I should still do at some point, but the likelihood of me doing that stuff is getting smaller and smaller by the day. The list needs love and pruning.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should use Google spreadsheets to keep track of your to-dos. Add a new line everytime you're adding an item. Create "Priority" column to prioritize.

This is much easier and easier to keep track of. Plus, you can encourage other members of your team to do this and share your to-do sheets so that there's accountability.