To Do List: the exception to the rule

So, I can’t give all my secrets away on my blog, but… 

There are three things we need to manage to be successful human beings. As ADHDers we may struggle with all three. They are Tasks, Time & Stuff. I’ll speak to managing task for a minute now. The best way I have found to manage tasks for us to a “simple” To Do List. However that list is not so simple. By my count there are 10 specific aspect to a really great and useful TDL. I’ll talk a little about one today. 

The idea is to have one master list for things to get done in your personal life and one master list of things to get done at work/school. I usually talk to clients for about 10 minutes about this aspect of the List and explore it pretty good depth. However, today I’m going to talk about the exception to the rule. 

When we have one huge project with many moving parts or many sub-tasks it is usually better to create a side list. (The is the advanced lesson for most, once they TDL basics are mostly mastered.) I thought to mention this today, because I have a big project in my house. Since our second was born in April, the basement has been a $#!% storm of old baby stuff, new baby stuff, hand me downs, donations, etc. Not to mention my tools… As a professional organizer, it is the one place in my life, I’d be afraid to let a client see. And it really bugs me because the ease of finding what I need has decreased radically. 

I went down the other day to game plan. I will admit I was overwhelmed. So, I picked one small aspect of the room and tackled that, then another small aspect. 2 hours later, those two areas were squared away… and the rest looked worse. But it was definitive progress. Now I’m left with “what’s next,” and some of that overwhelmed feeling remaining. So, I made a list by breaking the basement down in to as many sub tasks as possible. (Chunking like that is also one of the ten points of the amazing TDL!) 

But, the basement job isn’t a high priority, even though it annoys the heck out of me. And, even if it were, the 20 tasks generated on the list would overwhelm my TDL and freak me out, affecting my overall productivity. So I simply started a basement list. And, when I get to it, I get to it. But, I’m not stressed out about it anymore and I have clearly defined smaller pieces to work on when I can.

The idea of the, let’s call it a “spinoff list,” is to make a supplementary list containing tasks or items for a very specific large task. Probably, you would still leave “organize basement” on your Master TDL. So you would see it when you checked your list, but only have to look at the sub tasks when you had time to go down there and work. I think the best analogy is to a grocery list. Go Food Shopping should be on your MTDL, but you aren’t writing every banana that you need on the Master. That’s what the shopping list. This technique was particularly helpful to me when we bought a house and moved in less than two month. I worked great when I coordinated many separate professionals when we had the back yard redone after moving. And, now it’s in play for the basement. 

As per usual, I don’t plan to edit this. Consider my mistakes an ADHD victory. If I committed to writing, editing, rewriting, etc., I’d never post anything… Today: Me – 1   ADHD – 0

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