One of the problems with any time management system is that there is a tendency for the list of actions to expand until it becomes too large to be handled. This is because many of the tasks that you engage in result in your thinking of several others. For example, you might have a task for today “Investigate Program X”. That is naturally going to result in several further actions. Or you carry out the “next action” for some project, and that naturally leads you on to a further action with the same project. Although many tasks are one-offs without further action needed, they are outweighed by the tasks that lead on to further action or actions. This is just as true of the Task Diary in Do It Tomorrow as it is of any to do list.
You may also have random thoughts and ideas during the day which don’t arise out of other tasks. The best thing to do with these is to put them in the Task Diary to “think about”.
The result of all this is that the daily list of tasks in theTask Diary expands until it is no longer possible to get through it. When this happens some people try to deal with the problem by spreading the some of the tasks over the next few days. This is not a good idea as all it achieves is to disguise the fact that you now have more tasks than you can handle.
Although the “long stop” in DIT is the auditing procedure, it is much better to keep your Task Diary pruned so that you rarely or never need to go through this procedure.
A simple principle can achieve this:
Just because you have written something in the Task Diary doesn’t mean you have to do it.
It is a very good idea when you draw the line to close tomorrow’s list to go through the items and ruthlessly weed them of all items which are not 100 per cent necessary to your chosen focus. Everything that will disperse your focus or lead you off into sidetracks must go.
Doing this before you start on the list rather than after you are failing to get through it will strengthen your sense of achievement and focus rather than induce a sense of failure.
So to sum up:
By all means add everything you think of during the day to your Task Diary for tomorrow, but weed it thoroughly before you commit to actually doing it.