Reflection: I do value the Task List/Reminder List on my electronic calendar. Still, if I work and think only at the level of small individual tasks, I end up feeling like I’m stuck in the weeds or mired in the swamp. No matter how many of those bits and pieces get accomplished (write this, call him, brief her, deliver that), there are always ten more items flooding in to take their place.
To catch my breath and get a grip, I need to rise above the small task minutiae. I need access to the big picture, and, like oxygen, I need it often.
Here’s a practice that’s worked for me. I’ve cultivated the habit of taking twenty minutes at the beginning of each month to cultivate that higher level view; and I take another ten minutes at the beginning of each week to take stock for the next seven days.
I remind myself of my larger goals for the year. I look over the calendar for the next few months or weeks. I think about the season of the year and the rhythm of my work.
I sift. I sort. And, I actually write by hand a brief list of things to focus on for work, family, community and myself over the coming month or the coming week.
Then each day before I dive into the accumulated bits and pieces on my task list, I look at the overview for the week and use that big picture to keep things in perspective. I try to make sure that the task list on most days includes at least an item or two that contribute to those big picture points of focus. It helps…a lot!
Action: What’s your strategy for maintaining that high level perspective on what needs to happen next? And, how is it working for you?
Quotes Of The Week: The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. – Stephen Covey
Though your ambitions may be large, to be successful, keep your list short. – Barney Davey
Resource Of The Week: Making time for the things that matter most is always a challenge. Here are some great ideas in an article from a speaker friend of mine, Hugh Culver: Stop List Bulge.