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In December 2015, I changed for the ‘enteenth time my task management tool, as always incorporating new ideas harvested from the failures of my past systems and, for the first time in 7 or 8 years, I created one that really works.

I’ve used the same system for a year now and not only can I say that it consistently prove itself valuable as a way to manage tasks but it also affords me an opportunity I never had before : to revisit (in staggering detail) my year from the point of view of my realizations.

So this year, I accomplished on 358 tasks this year
and in that I found 24 milestones.

I can say with confidence that 2016 was a good year for me

and I am proud of that.

This article intends on providing a brief description of the tool used and providing my year in review as the case study for it’s success. I’m sharing this in hopes of helping my peers feel more accomplished while actually accomplishing stuff.

 

Case Study : my 2016 in review

This morning, December 31st 2016, I counted 358 entries in my archive since the creation of this tool (which will be 359 once I publish this article).

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That’s a very encouraging number.

That being said, the scope of these tasks vary quite a bit.

Some are of the utmost insignificance in hindsight :

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Most were mundane unremarkable little steps

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Others help remember problems long since fixed and forgotten :

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and yet others refresh the memory of a faded pleasant experience :

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While others confirm once again that taking care of friends always merits my attention and focus :

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All these help tell a story of my year, and reviewing them helped strenghthen the idea that this year, I indeed did great things.

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But most of all, I am floored at the scope of my milestones :

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These highlights run the gamut from significant to outstanding to downright miraculous. I expected 10 when I started unpacking my archive, I ended with 24!

So, thanks to this tool, I can now remember that

This year, I

  • Released 3 books
  • published a collaboratively produced card game
  • opened this website
  • started DJing
  • performed a cappella at a strange participatory concert of my creation
  • learned photoshop,
  • learned about how to manage a Wiki (stay tuned for that one 😉 )
  • Moved (twice)
  • bought a car
  • build myself a standing desk from old church wood (and built moe things than I ever built before)
  • started taking care of Silent Disco Squad in Montreal
  • Started giving guitar classes
  • learned how to make awesome coffees from a master Barrista
  • Started teaching people about Tarot
  • learned about lots of legal stuff regarding contracts and rights of publication
  • went through the entire process of inscribing in a university program only to choose to continue working like this
  • AND took care of my mental health like never before

This is an astounding reflection; and since it is now time to sculpt the portrait of 2017’th dreams and objectifs, could this have come at a better time?

The Tool

The tool

The system itself is stupid simple.

It all starts with non-sticky post-it notes cut in halves. On these halves are written single tasks. Along side the sticky notes I have 2 other devices :

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Little red squares to highlight which tasks are upcoming

 

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and blue stars to bring attention to certain projects & priorities

 

The whole thing sticks to the wall using Blu-tack and is placed next to your workstation

It works like this : 

Families of tasks (different projects / subjects / categories) are headed by a framed post it note :

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Subsequent tasks within this category simply have no frame :

Task families of current focus get a star (i.e. “Project A”, “Home Renovations” and Writing a Book”). Try to limit yourself to 3 focuses at once max – and stick with them for long periods of time  (i.e. months).

Tasks of upcoming importance / urgency get one of many red squares (I have 15 total right now. I also made little squares with 1, 2 and 3 on them to highlight my primary secondary and tertiary priorities.

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Once tasks are completed, they go into an archive for future review. Tasks that are abandoned are discarded (not archived).

I tend to do daily debriefs to archive completed tasks and to add new tasks as they appear. Weekly or bi-monthly, I re-evaluation the whole system to redistribute priority squares to make sure everything is balanced and taken care of.

And there it is, that’s the whole system.

Those in the know may recognize all this as a form of scrum altered by Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle, and they’d be right.

A great many thanks to all my friends, allies and supporters for a wonderfully successful year.

may your 2016 and the years ahead be fertile and bountiful.

Much love
Matthieu R

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