I have decided to try and do something about improving my natural propensity to continue putting one foot in front of the other – after much thought and deliberation, I’m going to attempt to start using task lists. I say “attempt”, because it’s not altogether clear how best to use them, which sounds like a ridiculous thing to say, so perhaps I should explain further.
When is a task a task? If a task has to be completed on a particular date, is it then an appointment? Should appointments appear on calendars as well as to-do lists ? When is a task actually more than one task? Is a task something you have to do, or also something you might do? It all gets very confusing very quickly – especially for somebody as stupid as me – which probably explains why I have remained such an expert at putting one foot in front of the other for so long.
As with anything that doesn’t really need a solution, I’m going to try out a technological solution to the non-existent problem – a task list “app” on my phone. I’m deliberately trying out one that will work on the web, and the phone, in the hope that I might actually use it. I’m guessing half the problem will be forming a habit around using it.
Years ago I bought the book “Getting Things Done”, and read all about the “GTD Methodology”. It was obviously invented by a project manager for project managers, and was full of wonderful ideas that only really work for people that don’t have children, because children are about as predictable as something that isn’t (I was going to write a witty analogy, but coudn’t be bothered coming up with one). You cannot plan around children – or indeed have any sort of normal life around them. GTD is kind of the Jazz of the productivity world – espoused by polo necked consultants that live in spartan houses, with minimalist prints on the walls.
Maybe I’m missing the point about task lists. Maybe they are a crutch to make it seem like you’re achieving things, when in reality you’re not at all. If I list out all the mundane things I do each day as tasks, and tick them off as I go, I’ll probably attain Emmit (LEGO Movie) levels of happiness. Get up – tick. Have a wash – tick. Make breakfasts – tick. Make lunches – tick. Wash up – tick. Feed cats – tick. Feed fish – tick. Cycle to work – tick… I could get LOADS done each day.