A critical part of any time management system is the activity of Listing.
In the prior component, Scheduling, I addressed the power of expanding the use of a schedule from a mere Appointment Calendar to a possibly useful planner of each and every kind of activity that places a time demand on a user.
As useful as a schedule is, however, it has its limits.
Any user that tries to schedule too many items into a calendar will ultimately cause their calendar to fail from the weight of too many time demands. At the moment, there is no calendaring system or technology that exists that will not fail from over-scheduling.
Listing involves putting a time demand on a list that is created to pull together items that share some common attribute.
Due to the limitations of Scheduling, users make lists of groups of time demands to work in conjunction with their schedules. Therefore, a user that has 10 calls to make will make a list of calls, rather than schedule 10 different time-slots in their calendar. Instead, they would make a single time-slot for “Calling” that has a link to the relevant list.
Lists serve a variety of needs, the most important of which is to free the mind from having to recall too many items. Also, some lists are made to serve a psychological need to ensure that a thought is kept safely for possible future use, even if the likelihood of actual use is low.
A few of the different kinds of lists that can be used are listed in my next post. The number of different variations is infinite.
- A Novice or White Belt tries to get by with mental lists, and the only the occasional list is used.
- A Yellow Belt maintains at least one list of unsorted items to do each day, and it has items of all kinds, without discrimination.
- An Orange Belt maintains multiple lists that serve many purposes, but does not monitor them on a regular basis. Frequently, lists become obsolete and remain so for several months.
- A Green Belt is continuously balancing the number of lists that they have, and the number of items in their schedules. Their system is under constant adjustment to help maintain their peace of mind so that nothing is being forgotten. They have a range of lists that serve them: some that serve practical purposes, like a list of movies they would like to see, and others that serve psychological purposes, like a Someday List of items. Their lists are mobile, and can always be found near to them on an electronic device such as a PDA. They are continually adding to their lists from components such as Capturing.