For people like me (and maybe you), lists are a fact of daily life. I have lists for my lists and whilst I am very productive (in my opinion), I’ve recently realised that I have a habit of compulsively jotting down things to do regardless of how complex a task happens to be. This often leads to a backlog, making me feel like I am drowning in work no matter how simple the tasks happen to be, and consequently has the opposite effect of “productivity” on me. I almost freeze and feel like giving up whenever I glance at the mountain of paperwork I still have to do.
The best way I found to deal with this over-optimisation is to not scribble down anything that takes 5 mins or less to do. If it takes less than 5 minutes then I just do it. Right now. Little things like signing Elise up to the Electoral Roll or changing addresses on various utility records are not particularly time consuming and yet with the sheer amount of paperwork I have had to do since returning to the UK, it’s very easy to feel overwhelmed.
Taxes, for example, are absolutely ridiculous in terms of filing requirements (as an employer), and its absolutely shocking how much time I spend working on them compared to how much I did in Canada. And yes, I do have a (good) accountant. The level of bureaucracy and paperwork is just unreal, and this is one of the most business friendly countries in Europe (God help us all).
With all of that said, taxes, like 99% of tasks, are not monolithic in nature. Rather, they come in bouts of lots of consecutive little tasks, and I find that just chipping away one bit at a time makes a world of difference with regards to stress levels.
No, I didn’t press submit (HRMC being a very scary entity). Tempted though.
In other news, I have successfully stuck it out with my Moleskine schedule system (which I’ll go over in another post) for nearly a year. After years of complex solutions and trying productivity app after productivity app like todoist, I think I have almost found my groove. I do notice that over the year my data input becomes far more sloppy or perhaps I am simply busier. Who knows. In any case, I think it’s safe to say that my current system is a success.