Each night, I list the tasks I must complete the following morning on an Emergent Task Planner (EPT) Persnickety? Yes. But it works. I’ve also taken to keeping my EPT on a clipboard. Behind that are several other forms that let me track what’s going on throughout the day and the week. The cheap Staples clipboard keeps everything tidy and portable. Here’s what I’ve got clipped together on my desk every day.
Top – Emergent Task Planner
On the left hand side, I list what will happen from hour to hour, in 15-minute increments. On the upper right, I list the tasks that must be completed before the day’s end. There’s no particular order to this list. The only important thing is that each item be completed. There’s a notes section on the lower right that I tweak a bit. Specifically, I divide it in half. On top I list what I consider “minor” tasks. These *could* be completed by day’s end, but the world won’t end of they’re delayed. Below that is the “running commentary.”
The running commentary contains anything: thoughts on the day, ideas, accomplishments [1. I’ve found it’s very reinforcing to look at at list of the day’s accomplishments.], what I did during scheduled breaks (“strawberry patch looks great”), etc. Anything can go there. I created the running commentary section to give my monkey mind an outlet, to save you people from stream-of-consciousness tweeting and to give myself an empirical list of the day’s accomplishemts. It sure feels good to review the major and minor achievements from the day.
Center – Resource Time Trackers
This two-parter is fantastic. It lists the major deliverables that will represent progress on a major task, as well as the smaller steps that lead to each deliverable’s completion. I staple both forms together (one lays over the top 1/4 of the other in a clever way) as well as any support files (for instance, I’m using the Fast Book Outliner to prep my next book project). Now, I can flip to each major project and see what needs to be done, my estimate for completion time (as well as actual time spent working), tasks to complete as well as outstanding (and completed) milestoines. Fantastic in a hugely nerdy, paper-centric way.
Last page – Concrete Goals Tracker
Here’s an important one. The Concrete Goals Tracker lets me “score” the tasks I’ve completed on a scale that reflects my working towards goals. For example, “signing a new sponsor” is worth 10 points, “published an article” is worth five points, “new social development” is worth two and “maintaining a relationship” is worth one. At the end of each day, I score anything that meets these criteria, and tally the grand total at the week’s end. If I score higher than I did during the previous week, I know it’s going well. It sounds a bit silly, but the CGT also provides empirical, measurable evidence of progress towards life-sustaining goals.