What’s Making Your Tasks So Difficult

I have found that the number one reason we struggle with tasks is that they are actually projects, that we TREAT like tasks. So what’s the difference between a project and a task?

The easiest way to answer that question is with another question: How do you eat an elephant?


What My Headlines Look Like

A while back I described how to organize your to-do’s by comparing them to newspaper headlines. Today I want to share an actual model of what that might look like.

To summarize, the front page of a newspaper is made up of a series of short compelling headlines. Each headline may have a short blurb, but it always has a connecter to the full story inside. Much of the time, what piles up on our desks are full stories.

Why Your Action System Isn’t Working

What action system do you used to get things done? Outlook? A Filofax? Your Smart phone? Maybe a good old fashioned to-do list? Odds are you are using a combination of all of the above.  If your system is not working, it’s helpful to look at all the elements that make a good action system.   If any one of these …


The To-Do Box Promise

There is a time to sort-and-purge clutter and a time to act on your to-do’s. It’s counter-productive to mix the sorting with the acting.

To truly understand why these two things are incompatible, it is first important to recognize the difference between getting organized and staying organized. It’s not unlike the difference between cooking a meal and eating it. It just works better to eat a meal after it is fully cooked

Reduce To Produce

Ever had so much stuff piled up on your desk, that you didn’t feel like you could do ANY of it? Challenge yourself to pick a limited number for each task. Start with your to-do list.  Here’s my to do list for today.  I’ve got one big fixed commitment in the middle of the day that will block most of …

Knot Thinking

Knot Thinking A while back I wrote a post called Bungle In The Bundle, about how some familiar bundles hamper, rather than help, good organizing.  Actually, it’s more than just the bundles themselves that interfere, it’s the line of thinking that is not working.  I call this knot thinking. When you employ knot thinking, you think about knotting things up …

Clean Slate of Mind

Ah, the clear desk.  There’s nothing like it.  It represents control and a sense of accomplishment, but it’s more than just a nice idea.  A clear work surface is nothing less than your MOST valuable organizing tool. That’s right.  I said organizing TOOL.  As with all tools, a work surface performs best when it is used with the right purpose. …

Tickle Your Memory

Ever wonder what a “tickler file” is? It’s a collection of 43 labeled folders, 31 days and 12 months, that helps you organize time-sensitive documents. It has been around in various formats since the early 20th century, but has probably been most notably covered in David Allen’s 2001 classic, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress Free Productivity.

To me the most valuable message from Allen’s book was,

“Out Where I Can See It.”

“Out Where I Can See It” is an understandable need, but the problem is if everything is important, then nothing is important. If the front page of a newspaper appeared solid gray with unbroken text, you probably wouldn’t bother with it. It’s too overwhelming. Not only would it take time to prioritize the most important articles, it would take time just to see them!