Today I’d like to flag the importance of being ‘consistent’ with your task management ‘system’ – whatever that system might be.
To understand why consistency’s so important, consider for a moment how your brain actually handles tasks – in the physiological sense.
In the very front of your brain, right this very second, synapses are firing; electrical signals are speeding from one nerve ending to another.
It’s a maelstrom of activity.
Can you feel it?
So why all the activity? What’s using up so much precious mental energy?
Well, a good deal of this activity’s down to how your brain’s internal task management ‘system’ works.
You see, your brain’s hard-wired to trust *no-one* when it comes to the delicate task of remembering all the important stuff needing doing… least of all YOU!
The result? Your brain’s constantly revisiting this short-term memory, in a frantic bid to ensure none of the ‘to-do list’ stored there gets forgotten.
Sometimes you’re aware of this constant activity, sometimes you’re not – but on it goes, round the clock. 24 x 7.
And it’s from here that those wonderful moments spring: “OMG… I just remembered I was supposed to…”
…usually at about 3am (or at least some time after the task was actually due).
And we all know the gut-busting stress that can follow those moments.
The problem is, our brains themselves have a gazillion other functions on their hands – important stuff, you know… like breathing.
So perhaps they can be forgiven for occasionally letting the odd task slip through the cracks, right?
Ok, so that’s the norm, the status quo – that’s what drives our primeval urge to better organize ourselves, to create lists, to use tools and systems.
It’s because deep down we secretly know we can’t trust our own minds.
A sobering thought!
So back to the main point of this post: consistency.
The reason consistency is so important, whatever system (or software) you may choose, is that without consistency your brain will flat refuse to let go of the responsibility for ‘remembering stuff’.
Like I said, it’s probably the least trusting of all your organs
So if you want to have even *half* a chance of persuading your own mind that it can leave the job of managing task to your system, you have to prove your system works and you have to be utterly consistent.
If just a single shred of doubt creeps in, if just one solitary hole appears in your system the brain will jump right back into its pattern of endless activity.
So how to achieve consistency?
Well, this mainly comes down to self-discipline and routine – you have to build the system into your daily routine and stick to it over the long term.
But it also comes down to your choice of system.
Tasks will occur to you at all times of day, no matter where you are, and your system needs to be able to capture tasks efficiently, wherever and whenever they occur to you.
If you don’t *immediately* capture these thoughts using your system, who do you think is going to have to assume responsibility for remembering?
That’s right… your cynical friend up there, inside your head.
If you’ve been using ShoutDone for a little while, you may already know there are some pretty neat features built in that help you capture tasks – wherever where you might be.
For example, the ‘system-wide hotkeys’ make entering tasks a lightning-fast process (on both PC and Mac) and the ability to fire tasks directly into your projects via e-mail gives your system super flexibility.
But for the *full* benefit – the ability to automatically synchronize projects and tasks between PCs and/or Macs you really ought to consider grabbing a copy of the pro version.
Give your cranium a rest, take away some of the stress and worry of relying on a weak system. Free up your mental energy for other things.
To Your Life, More Organized!