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Chapter 10. A Crash Course in Getting Or... > Setting Up Mission Control - Pg. 106

A Crash Course in Getting Organized 106 You'll have an easier time keeping track of events and appointments in your personal and work lives (hey, it's all one life!) if you have only one monthly calendar. The recommended maximum is two: one in the planner you use throughout the day and one on the refrigerator for family or roommates to keep track of major events, occasions, and appointments. If you've heard it once, you've probably heard it a thousand times, "Break big projects down into manageable steps to get them done." That's the idea behind your calendars and daily action plan. By focusing on "do dates" instead of due dates, you get things done. To-Do Lists So how do you know what to do each day? There are three simple steps. First, take stock of the different spheres of commitment in your life. What I mean by that is, think of the different projects, life roles, or areas in which you have things to do. For each of those spheres, you need a to-do list. Because I am self-employed, I usually have two or three main freelance or consulting projects going on at any given time, plus some occasional smaller, short-term projects. I have a section in my mission control book for each of those main projects, plus a section labeled "Miscellaneous Work." Then, I have a section labeled "Personal." In each section is one to-do list where I write down everything I need to do the minute I think of it or as soon as it is assigned to me. Over the past few months, my personal to-do list has included the following tasks: · · · · · · · · · · Buy baby gift for Nancy H.'s new son Make copies of the photo M.R. wants Get photo inspection of car for new insurance company Send housewarming card to Stevie Make invitations for daughter's birthday party Schedule day to visit the Bermans Catch up on baby's scrapbook Arrange for shower to be re-grouted Buy new exercise tights Figure out new health insurance You get the picture. The personal list contains all those things that you usually never get around to doing or do late. But now that they're on one clear list and, more important, now that you're going to schedule them on daily action pages, you'll start doing them. Use the same approach with your work-related to-do lists. By the way, I did everything on this list except the last item (and in Chapter 9, you saw what kind of trouble that got me into!). Quicksand! Don't be a slave to your schedule. If you follow it too rigidly, you'll start to resent it and may abandon it altogether.