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  • What to do with reoccuring daily tasks?

    What should I do with the things that need or should happen on a daily basis. I certainly don't won't to enter "scoop out cat box" in my @home context every day. But at the same time I want to be reminded that "scoop out the cat box" is something that should get done every day.

    I end up with lots of these things which need to be in my face but would be a waste of time to enter in a GTD system every day, like:

    -write blog entry
    -wash dishes
    -water plants
    -respond to online communications

    I work from home so my day is fairly gelatinous and lacking of any hard goals or constraints.

  • #2
    I scoop out the cat box right after I feed the cats. The cats complain if they haven't been fed. No reminder needed.

    If I don't wash the dirty dishes, they pile up in the sink. The cats investigate, and loud crashing noises ensue. No reminder needed.

    A lot of daily tasks can be handled this way, as they are (or become) habits. Do you need a reminder to brush your teeth?

    For recurring tasks that do need a reminder, I use a program called Sciral Consistency. Lets you set the reminder interval, uses color codes to signal whether a task has been done. It serves a similar function to a checklist, which would also work.

    Answering email is part of routine inbox processing. You might want to schedule a time every day, in part to keep it from completely taking over your day.

    Katherine

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    • #3
      Originally posted by kewms View Post
      I scoop out the cat box right after I feed the cats. The cats complain if they haven't been fed. No reminder needed.

      If I don't wash the dirty dishes, they pile up in the sink. The cats investigate, and loud crashing noises ensue. No reminder needed.

      A lot of daily tasks can be handled this way, as they are (or become) habits. Do you need a reminder to brush your teeth?

      For things that do need a reminder, I use a program called Sciral Consistency. Lets you set the reminder interval, uses color codes to signal whether a task has been done.

      Answering email is part of routine inbox processing. You might want to schedule a time every day, in part to keep it from completely taking over your day.

      Katherine

      Well I scoop out the cat box when the smell wafts into the living room. This is a natural reminded but hardly productive one.

      The problem is my "scuzz factor" to too high. Higher than I would like it to be, so yes, I would need a reminded to brush my teeth if I wanted them to be healthy and clean. This wasn't a problem when I had a day job and my life was a serious of routines, but now I don't have to wake up at 7am if I don't want to, but I still set an alarm clock to do so for productivity reasons. I don't have to brush my teeth, but I can't set my alarm clock to remind me.

      Also there are project related tasks that should be maintained to keep the vitality of the project. Theres are things I don't have to do, but should be reminded to do them. I'd rather not wait until the scuzz factor of a failing project takes over.

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      • #4
        FWIW, my experience of working from home is that some kind of structure is essential. Otherwise "work" deteriorates into "sitting around watching TV," which is ultimately unsustainable. So you might want to think about ways to create structure rather than one-off reminders.

        Katherine

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        • #5
          I work from home too. Since I'm here all day I like to keep on top of the housework without it interfering with my work hours.

          What has been working for me for the last couple of years is having several checklists. I have one for the morning, lunchtime, end of the workday, evening, and bedtime. The checklists list all of the things I want to get done during those times and they are pretty detailed (yes, I wrote down "brush teeth".) I use a simple checklist program on my smartphone, but if you don't have a palm-type device, you could laminate a printed list and cross them off with a dry erase marker as they get done.

          They really help. I've had "fabreeze dog beds" on the morning checklist for about 2 months and I still forget to do it at least half the time until I check my list.

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          • #6
            I actually *do* put stuff like this on my list every day (I use a PocketPC/Outlook, so it's easy to cheat and let the software do it for me). I continue this until it becomes a habit.

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            • #7
              I work at home often and scheduling the difference between home and office is key. Most important though is that you do certain tasks at certain times. If you work at home, don't suddenly clean the dishes when you really need to be doing office tasks. But take care of it later in the day, so that it doesn't bother your when you are supposed to be working the next day.

              I keep a daily checklist that includes things to do and new habits I'm developing. I review it daily. I need the structure. There is no need to make the list fancy - it can be as simple as can be. I have built a high-scuzz tolerance at times so that I can put aside home things during office hours. But then again I'm a very clean person, so I keep a list of tasks. If I'm under a time constraint I pick the 5 or less things that bother me the most (my "energy drains") and just do those .

              Sometimes it's just a matter of letting it become a habit. Even reviewing a daily checklist needs to become a habit. Even the simplest thing needs to be a habit. For example, I want to make certain I floss every day rather than just a few times a week, so I put it on a daily check list. After checking this off 21 times, which is what I read makes something become a habit, I should be flossing daily. If this doesn't work, then I'll keep it on another 21 days. It works.

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              • #8
                I would suggest that the easiest way to go would be to make a checklist for "Daily Things" and put it in a convenient place. I suspect that after a while, you won't need to refer to the list since many, if not all, of the items will become automatic.

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                • #9
                  I work from home too. As a freelancer one has to emulate a boss. A good one gives IMHO 2 things: speed and purpose. The purpose is your job-description. You can have some sort of a business-plan for that. Speed comes through motivation. So far the theory. In real life one often has to bait oneself to keep working. This is where structure comes in.

                  What helps me is a flag in my office: flag on top means I am at work, flying at half-mast means I am at home. Then offcourse I have the holidays-flag for days off (when any work is optional). (Does this sound freaky? Well, part of the purpose of working as a freelancer is sustaining your right to be the freak you really are, righty?)

                  In addition to this flag I have the rule that during working time I am not allowed to interrupt myself with physical excuses I used to maintain like showering, working out, doing the errands and so on. I have the right to make short breaks to eat and drink (in both directions offcourse) and that's that.

                  Yes, daily routine tasks is about your habbits. I maintain an area-of-focus called "optimizing personal conduct" which deals with that. In my experience every new habbit needs a different way to establish it, gtd-wise I mean. Some need a project, others a bunch of reminders in your calendar.... whatever suits the goal.

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                  • #10
                    Agreed with Tspall. A list of daily routine tasks can, over time, turn those tasks into habits.

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                    • #11
                      I use Outlook's ability to automatically regenerate a task a day/week after it is completed if it's something I do regularly but can't seem to remember (ie. timesheets).

                      And I don't have a cat.

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                      • #12
                        I'd put it into my Calendar. Feed the cat is not the task that could be done on asap basis. If you need to do something daily or on a specific day - put it in the Calendar. When becomes a habit - remove from the calendar.

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                        • #13
                          Visual reminder can help.

                          Originally posted by Cpu_Modern View Post
                          What helps me is a flag in my office: flag on top means I am at work, flying at half-mast means I am at home. Then offcourse I have the holidays-flag for days off (when any work is optional).
                          I like this idea. Some kind of visual reminder can help.

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                          • #14
                            I would recommend the software Sciral Consistency (download a demo version at http://www.sciral.com/consistency/ - the full version is only about $20). It's for tracking tasks that you have to do on regular intervals but not specific dates... kind of hard to explain but I think it might be useful.

                            Also the site joesgoals.com is something I find very useful - have a quick look and it's pretty quick to see how it works.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by rangi500 View Post
                              I would recommend the software Sciral Consistency (download a demo version at http://www.sciral.com/consistency/ - the full version is only about $20). It's for tracking tasks that you have to do on regular intervals but not specific dates... kind of hard to explain but I think it might be useful.

                              Also the site joesgoals.com is something I find very useful - have a quick look and it's pretty quick to see how it works.

                              Yes I have recently started with joe's goals, its refreshingly simple for a web app. I can literally take 20 seconds before bed and check off what I have done, brushing teeth included, or not.

                              It works a bit less as a reminder though, perhaps I need a hard copy list on my desk, that would work best I'd say.

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