Ever have a surge of anxiety or a sinkhole of discouragement when you suddenly recall an undone task that was off your radar? It's like being attacked from the side! Last year I made a list of my inbox sources.
An inbox source is any input, internal or external, to which you choose to respond, now or later, by taking some action.
Here's my list:
My calendar: calendar entries requiring preparation create a to-do item
My workout program: a commitment to any routine puts actions on your list
Undone projects from the distant past
My CRM application task list
My project management software
My iPhone photo roll: I take photos of information to record later.
Physical sticky notes where I've jotted down reminders
The Notes application on my phone/computer where I've jotted down information or reminders
Business cards I've picked up from others
My wallet: receipts to scan and business expenses to record
To-be-scanned pile on my printer
The projects shelf in my laundry room
Text messages received
To-be-filed folder on my computer
Ideas for implementation from conversations with colleagues
Notes from professional conferences with plans for implementation
Commitments I've made to accountability partners
Notes from coaching sessions to be filed
Items purchased and not yet put away
My idea-generating brain
Although this seems like a lot, I bet you have some more examples from your own life!
Tame the tangle by condensing your inboxes:
Select only a few places to keep your to-do items
When one of your many inbox sources generates a task, record it in one of these places
Include items with all due-date ranges, from now to lifetime
If the to-do is a larger project, create a task to plan the project
Be intentional about the order in which you complete the tasks
When you suddenly remember an item, record it and go back to what you were doing
Then you will be in the driver's seat and the "oh my God! I still haven't done that" monster will have much less power over you.
Go for it!