OrganizationFilter: When scheduling tasks for a day, do you just throw them into a giant list and move through it, or do you come up with specific times and orders for things?
Previously, on my own personal crazy: 1 2 3 4 5
After dealing with a lot of depression, ADHD, and other issues, I feel like I finally have academic, personal, social, and other commitments under thumb. With the help of my lovely wife
who is a monster organizer, I've been able to keep track of things, complete tasks, and actually have some free time where I can enjoy my life, instead of being in a perpetual state of "always working." This question is just about the little details.
I've tried two ways of organizing my "todo" list for the day - large, unscheduled, context based lists vs. a scheduled list of tasks.
On any given day, I may have stuff like grade papers, read an article, write a few pages, practice bassoon, make reeds, make a phone call, plan my lesson for the class I teach, etc. If I put them all in several large context-based lists (like GTD suggests), I end up blowing all of my mental energy on a task up front, and then not being able to the bottom of the list, or I knock off a bunch of easy things, and I run out of time for something that's more mission critical in an attempt to not pick and choose tasks.
On the other hand, when I schedule tasks, sometimes the schedule gets thrown off due to another commitment or problem that pops up, and then everything goes to hell. I've realized that I really thrive on a schedule, but when that schedule gets shifted, I really haven't been able to learn how to cope with it.
Lastly, the biggest problem is that my days all have different schedules. Each day has different activities, classes, lesson I have to teach, groups I have to play with, etc, so consistent work time across days is out. Some days, I'll have energy at noon, because I've only been teaching private lessons before then; some days, I'll just have finish teaching 4 hours of college class, which makes me a lot more tired. Mental and physical energy levels differ across the days, making scheduling even harder.
So how do you do it? One large list? Several context based lists? A scheduled list? Which works best for you, and if you are in a similar situation to mine, how do you make it work?
Bonus question: There are some tasks that have no deadlines - looking up research articles to read, compiling them, practicing my instrument, etc. Those kinds of tasks always get pushed past the ones that are more time sensitive, even if I try to schedule them. Do you have any ideas regarding these types of tasks, and how to make them work in any of the above systems?