Today's productivity post has nothing to do with Google or Gmail, but I AM going to use Google Docs to share a resource with you.
It was my mentor who first gave me the idea to print out a weekly project list that sits on my desk (on top of anything else that happens to be piled there). I admit I was a little skeptical – wouldn't it be more efficient (and fun) to keep experimenting with online productivity tools?
Well, I have been using this simple little tool as a structure for many months now, and I LOVE IT! There is something so grounding about having a physical piece of paper on my desk with all of my current and upcoming projects.
My favourite part? The front page, which represents the current week's work, including an estimate of how many hours it will take. When I get tempted to say, "Yes, I can do that by Thursday," or, "Sure! I can take on your rush job!" I am getting better and taking a breath and looking over at my piece of paper.
The fact is, if there is no space left to write on that front page, there is no space left in my week.
It helps me stay very clear about how much time I have available for new projects, and when. It hasn't completely solved my "magical thinking" about how much I will be able to get done within a finite span of time, but it is definitely improving.
I've recently tweaked my project list template to help me stay even more organized. For example, I'm using some of the precious real estate of the front page to record when I've had inquiries or sent estimates, so I can see at a glance if it's time to follow up again.