Productivity / Time management tips

Task management: Why I ditched the to do list

Before becoming a mum, I was a prolific list writer and multi tasker. But now spare time is at a premium, these methods aren’t cutting the mustard. Here’s how I deal with task management now.

18 February 2008 by

In an environment where having a shower seems like a tall order, my ‘things to do’ list has come undone. Multitasking is no longer an option as looking after Amy requires all the concentration I can muster.

As a result, I’m experimenting with a different way of task management.

Now, when baby’s asleep and something needs doing, I’m prone to just do it. Instead of thinking “This room needs a vacuum” I’ll get the vacuum cleaner out and do it. As soon as I think “I must return that phone call”, I make the call.

I have a new respect for time, which means procrastinating is a thing of the past.

There’s something satisfying about cutting out the middle step of a to-do list. Doing, rather than planning to do, sees me carry an air of ruthless efficiency and it certainly feels as if I rip through some tasks in record time.

"Doing, rather than planning to do, sees me carry an air of ruthless efficiency and it certainly feels as if I rip through some tasks in record time."

On the downside, very young babies tend to operate in the ‘urgent, important’ quadrant, which means lots of tasks get interrupted. In fact even now I can see a pile of dust yet to be swept into a dustpan. And don’t get me started on how long this missive has taken.

Want more articles like this? Check out the time management tips section.

Another downside of the impulsive approach to task management is you don’t get a chance to consider the value of what you’re doing. Only when faced with cleaning up hardened, unusable chocolate icing intended for Australia Day lamingtons did the thought “Is baking the best use of your time?” cross my mind.

So I’m still deciding whether doing jobs here and now is a ‘better’, i.e. more efficient, way of task management.

What do you reckon? Is a half vacuumed room better than writing ‘vacuum house’ on a to do list? There’s nothing wrong with uniced lamos-cum-sponge squares, that much I do know.

Tell us what you think via a comment.

Sam Leader

is a director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

Comments

88,024 people use Flying Solo to help them create a business with life. Do you?

Connect with Flying Solo

Explore the benefits of membership