In 2015, the winner of my first spring cleaning challenge deleted over 30,000 emails. Wow! Two years later she still keeps her inbox tidy by regularly deleting unwanted emails and unsubscribing to promotionals. Read about it here.
Since many of my posts focus on cleaning “stuff”, this challenge focuses on decluttering one’s brain. Throughout history, humans have always been interested in expanding their collective memories by utilizing external “storage devices”. Before paper and computers were invented, humans used stones and other types of hard materials to record things that were important. I like to think of recordkeeping as the world’s 2nd oldest profession.
Today’s modern environment is busy and the extra storage options don’t necessarily relieve our burdens. I employ a few strategies to keep up with life’s everyday demands. One effective, yet simple strategy, is to make a list. I use a task management app, but I’m still fond of post-it notes. The second part of the process is to review the lists on a routine basis (i.e. weekly or daily).
Your challenge: Practice a Weekly Review and Commitment
Write a list of all the things you need to accomplish that keep falling to the bottom of the to-do list. Select 3 to focus on for the week, in addition to your everyday tasks. Commit to getting these 3 things accomplished. At the end of the week, review your list and evaluate the results. Pick 3 new things to focus on for the following week. Repeat the weekly review at the end of the second week.
- April 4 – 9: make task list, commit to 3 of them
- April 10 – 16: accomplish the 3 tasks, review task list, pick 3 new tasks
- April 17 – 23: accomplish the 3 tasks, review task list, pick 3 new tasks
- April 24 – 30: complete the questions below and send to email@example.com
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Writing down tasks externally relieves the brain from having to remember these things so it can focus on getting them done. Committing to a small number of manageable tasks at one time is a great way to be productive. The review is critical.
Keep in mind some tasks may need to be broken down into smaller steps. For example, I want to upload old CDs (yes, I still have some). Step 1 is figuring out how to accomplish this since my new computer doesn’t have a CD drive. Step 2 is defining keep/toss criteria. Step 3 is figuring out how to organize uploaded content. Step 4 is uploading.
Due April 30
- How useful did you find the strategy of writing down your tasks, selecting, and committing to 3 of them? Scale of 1 – 10 (1= not at all, 10 = life changing)
- Did you do the weekly review? Yes/No
- Was this your first time doing a weekly review? Yes/No
- Did you find it useful? Yes/No
- Do you think you will continue to use this strategy? Why/ Why not?
The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to a vendor of his/her choice. Good luck!