Repeating Planner Entries Series: Unscheduled Tasks | Giftie Etcetera: Repeating Planner Entries Series: Unscheduled Tasks

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Repeating Planner Entries Series: Unscheduled Tasks

Since the 1980s, people have been categorizing tasks. 

Actually, Benjamin Franklin created his own planners, back in the early American days, and surely farmers and homesteaders and even hunters and gatherers probably thought of tasks in categories. But the 80s was really the heyday of plannerds.

For Franklin Covey folks, this means labeling tasks as "urgent and important," "urgent but not important," "important but not urgent," or "not urgent or important." For devoted Getting Things Done fans, tasks are all about "next actions" and "deadlines." (If you aren't familiar with either topic, Google it and enjoy the time suck.)


My personal system for dealing with tasks is a hybrid of the famous systems that I have read about.

*MASTER TASK LIST - This list includes all tasks that are neither urgent nor important, but that I want to separate from the meat of my planner. I just keep this as a stand alone section between my project pages and calendar pages.

*CHORES - Unless a chore is date specific (e.g., make a travel packing list the day before my weekend road trip) or a one-time item (e.g., call a repairman), it is separate from my tasks and goes within my recurring chore system (taught later in this series, so sign up for my email list to find out when I post it).

*SCHEDULED TASKS - Tasks that must be done on/by a certain date (e.g., delivering my brother-in-law's gift before his birthday) generally get scheduled on my weekly spread, on the last day when they could reasonably happen.

*UNSCHEDULED TASKS - Well, this post is about how I deal with those tasks that are important to me, but not on a truly set schedule or upcoming deadline. So let's examine that.


Some things are not worth rewriting every time I don't get to them, but they are worth doing. Either they are too important to just dump on a master task list even though they are not on any deadline or they are on a longer term deadline but need to be done now. They need to stay on my radar (and therefore must be recopied sometimes as a reminder), but they don't need to clutter up my weekly plans, which MUST be done or formally rescheduled.

Some examples of these unscheduled tasks include:

*doing tasks for a committee that has a deadline next spring,

*making a donation to a local charity while I can still find the web link,

*editing an email template so that the next time someone calls for a substitute, I don't have to edit the email on the fly, and

*typing up my handwritten pages for Nanowrimo before it actually starts (but it's no biggie if I do it the first day of Nano).

So I did this:

The yellow sticky note list travels from week to week on my This Week page marker. When it gets full, I recopy it to a new one, keeping the items on my radar. And I don't hesitate to recopy a task or two to my daily plan, if it's a good day to do the task. For example, if I am working at my computer all day, I might add the computer tasks to my daily plan.

TIP: Keep this list short and sweet by making it no longer than the length of the sticky note. If you go beyond 10 to 15 items, some should be scheduled and some should move to your master task list.

TIP: Include context codes (E = errand, C = computer, W = work, etc.) next to each task.

Tune in this week for more tips about dealing with Repeating Planner Entries, including chores, weekly recurring tasks, and yearly recurring tasks.



lyn said...

This is such a good idea! Did you stick on note on the ruler? I can't really tell from the photo.

Giftie Etcetera said...


Mathochist said...

"...while I can still find the web link." Hahahaha! We are way more alike than either of us probably care to admit! ;)

Giftie Etcetera said...

Oh, definitely, Mathochist! ;)