This post, as promised, addresses what to do with all those tasks that you've "bucketed", because let's face it, just putting them in an appropriate bucket is only a small part of the battle. If you don't actually address these bucketed tasks you've won the battle but lost the war. So now it's time to Review Your Commitments (Time Mangagement for Creative People by Mark McGuinness, p. 25).
Before sticking your hand into a bucket and just tackling the first thing you pull out, it's a good idea to take te opportunity to look at the bigger picture of what needs to be done. If I have effectively uncluttered my mind (and freed myself up for being creative) by dumping all my tasks into the proper buckets, chances are I won't remember every little detail of each project that needs to be done, or which task is the most pressing. If I do a quick review every few days I can take an organized approach and potentially avoid a lot of backtracking (and apologizing) that can occur when working inefficiently. This isn't a raffle drawing in which you can stick your hand in and pull out the winning ticket!
In addition to this quick review it is also important to set aside a larger chunk of time once a week to really dig deep into those buckets and empty them out. This may not be as challenging as it sounds, as you may find that items you bucketed earlier in the week are no longer important (this often happens for me with items I've set aside to read) and sometimes you may even find that issues have een resolved with little to no intervention on your part (I'm a parent of teens and am amazed at how often this happens). What a gift!
So what's the bottom line? What should we creative types take away from this series?
- Prioritze work that is important but not urgent
- Determine the time of day that you are at your best and use it exclusively as your creative time
- Cultivate an environment that gets your creative juices flowing
- Don't be a slave to your to-do lists and the demands of others, rather have a system for prioritizing tasks
- Find out what your organizational style is and put a system in place that suits it
- Use this system to categorize tasks and create "buckets" to put tasks into so that you can clear your mental clutter and free yourself up for creative flow
- Have a schedule for reviewing your "buckets" and acting on the items in them, cleaning the buckets out completely weekly.
Here's to a great fall!