How do you handle your to-do list? I find that I add more tasks than I can do. Then I carry these over to the next day or week. At this point, it becomes clear that once again I’ve given myself too many tasks to do. Consequently, I’m always a bit behind and always have things that need to be done.

Getting things done is one of my big inspirations. It helped me to pull together the gaps in my systems. For years a daybook had been the way forward. Recording ideas to follow up, places to visit, recipes, and books to read. GTD pointed out that I needed a way of following up on all of these.

So I’d periodically look through (shudder when I realised how long it took me to actually complete a task) and remove pages where everything was completed. Then I’d wait until I finished the book and pull out all the bits that still needed following up. As a notebook could last a year this wasn’t the most effective way of doing things. Especially as I then had to find something to do with my little pile of unfinished tasks.

Then last year Carla bought me a Moleskine diary. It was small enough to carry around with me and limited what I could write on each day. I stopped writing out the same job list numerous times. I tried to clear everything on a day before I went to bed. And then I decided I’d just go through at the end of each month and make a list of anything I hadn’t done. The diary format made it easy to know which stuff I needed to worry about.

If I could deal with it while I went through I could. However, my lists in the early days of this system were pretty long. Adding them to Wunderlist and scheduling a task a day could ensure I was busy all month.

Then I began to notice that there were fewer things to follow up at the end of the month. I was either getting the things done or questioning if I needed to do them before putting pen to paper.

The Moleskine diary made it easy and this year’s daybook is a big green notebook. And I’ve decided to apply the same system. But I give myself the first 7 days at the start of the month to catch up. If I haven’t done it in those 7 days I really need to question if it needs to be done at all!

So far so good. Let’s see if my days of grace are working out come the middle of the year.