[This is the first of a series covering the Getting Things Done Standard Operating Procedures I use to manage my goals, priorities and workload. I thought I’d share these because they’ve made and continue to make a huge difference in my productivity, and I hope they will for you too!]
The Little Red Pad.
What: A small, distinctive pad with 3 x 5 card inserts.
Use: Every single task not immediately done (tasks needing less than about 2 minutes) gets written here first.
My Little Red Pad is a USB Key for my brain – everything, and I mean everything, I need to do in the future workwise gets written here first. Doing so means I can not worry about whether I remember something to do or not.
As I get closer to my 50th birthday, my memory is simply not as good as it was 20 years ago. More importantly, I have about five times more to do, read, process, code and write than I did then.
Paradoxically, I remember more things since I started using this pad which I attribute to a)the act of writing down each task, not simply trying to remember it. b)being less stressed about remembering tasks.
- At the end of a day, I reenter and elaborate tasks from my red pad into the Windows application I use (and wrote and sell, by the way), MasterList Professional. So each day starts with a new card in my red pad.
- During the day, my red pad goes with me – between pc’s, to the club, at my side while eating lunch etc.
- I no longer carry it 24/7: Not having my pad is one of the major ways I know I’m not at work, and that is a larger concern to me than capturing non-work things I need to do around the house (my partner Tina makes sure that’s covered! )
So do you have a Standard Operating Procedure for capturing 100% of your work tasks? If so, what? If not, how do you survive?