I Am Living List

Writer Lindsey Bailey’s new blog includes one of the most inspiring and definitely the bravest thing I’ve seen online: a list of what she wants to do. That’s it, just a list. But there are entire worlds in some of the briefest entries and as you read on, you actually start to cheer as you reach ones she’s crossed off.

So here is my declaration; a list filled with big and little things that I dream of doing. Inspired by Sean Ogle’s idea that publishing this list makes you more accountable… below is my ‘I am living’ list.

I Am Living List – Lindsey Bailey, lindseybaileywrites.com (June 2015)

Have a read of it on her site.

Then when you have done, you can do what I did and prevaricate about doing the same thing yourself by instead going on to read Alex Townley’s response:

It’s more like free writing or word vomit, or possibly therapy, so I apologise in advance, but I’m blaming this on a friend and colleague of mine Lindsey Bailey, who has just launched her own website you can visit here (and very fine it is too). She has a section devoted to what she calls her ‘I am Living List’. A sort of fancy to do list of big and small things she’d like to do at some point. It made me start pondering, which led to thinking, which led to endless adding, first of things for my own ‘To Do’ list and secondly for those things which missed that list, those things which should have been on it, but never made it, because they’d already been done. So this is two lists, one of things I’d like to do, and a second, below it, of the surprising (to me at least) amount of vaguely noteworthy things I’m really glad I’ve done. Both lists I suspect are endless, but posting this will hopefully make me draw a mental line under them both in my head, and get on with something useful…. To Do List

This is not (really) a blog post – Alex Townley, love.bake.learn.make.laugh (11 June 2015)

So what are you waiting for? I can tell you that I personally am waiting for you to write a list like this so that I can read it to postpone writing mine.

Quick wins and the Quick Win Hour

Find a few things on your To Do list that won’t take a lot of time and do them. They’re quick wins because without much time and probably without much effort, you’ve knocked some stuff off your list.

It’s like taking baby steps or building up to doing something big except these things were real and they needed to be done so you’ve built up usefully. The sense you have that you’re on your way, you’re getting things sorted out, is real because it is real.

You can’t just do the quick stuff, you have to buckle down to the difficult and the long, but knocking off a few fast tasks is a good way to get yourself started on those.

Some To Do software including OmniFocus lets you say how long you think a task will take. I have never used this. I never will. I just think the time I spend working out time I’ll spend on a task is time I could be spending doing the task. Nonetheless, if you like doing this or it feels more natural to you than it does to me, you can assign approximate times to any or all of your tasks – and then choose to see a list of all those taking 10 minutes or less.

There are also To Do apps that let you assign an energy level to a task. I don’t even know if my OmniFocus does this because I’m not sure where to look. But if your To Do app does this, you could get it show you all the tasks that don’t need much oomph from you. All the ten minute tasks that you can do in your sleep: that’s a To Do list you can knock through quickly.

One thing I do often do is a Quick Win Hour. Take a moment to find ten things on your list or make up ten new things. Whichever it is, you do ten and you do that very, very quickly. Then you set a timer on your phone for one hour and you do all ten.

I’ve done this perhaps half a dozen times over the last two years and only once did I ever complete all ten within the time but, grief, it was close every other time. And despite or maybe because of my being so focused on the ten and the hour, I didn’t really register that each time I was getting up to ten things done off my list.

Now out – The Blank Screen email newsletter

Have you subscribed already? The first weekly newsletter is now out and if you have, it will be in your email inbox. Remember the most productive thing you can do with email is read and enjoy it immediately. In this case, anyway.

If you haven’t got it, what you’re missing out on is:

  • An unmissable video about kids and “ancient” technology
  • The best productivity news of the week
  • The rather unusual Buy of the Week recommendation
  • Details of the Stratford Literary Fair
  • The best technology stories of the week

To subscribe for free, just email me and say you want in.

And in the meantime, take a look at today’s first-ever Blank Screen email newsletter in full right here in your browser.

I hope you like it.  It’s been a lot of fun creating it since the idea popped into my head last Saturday. I was on my way to exhibit The Blank Screen paperback at the Birmingham Independent Book Fair when it occurred to me that I could offer people a free PDF sample of a chapter. If, that is, I got their email address. It was but a short hop from that to thinking I could ask people to sign up for an email list and then it was a much longer hop to thinking what I could do with it for them.

Maybe if the list hadn’t been so successful I’d have thought of something else. Something quicker. Something a lot simpler. But it was simply lovely seeing that list grow on the day and then later over emails and social media.

So I think the email newsletter is good. And I know it’s your fault. Thanks.