One Sunday I was Skyping with my Friend and she asked me what were my plans for the next day. I answered – “You know, I will write this paper for this joint research”. She wasn’t satisfied with the answer and she asked – “can you be more specific…?” And I couldn’t answer that question… I was a little bit ashamed, because it looks that I am so well organised. In reality sometimes I forget about important elements of the self- and tasks-management… 

One of this elements is an everyday “to do” list. Sabine was talking about that, but I didn’t implement it. 

As you could see in the post about planning, I prepared almost one year plann of my PhD writing. As I realised after the talk with my Friend – it is not enough. Because all this task, and subtask are still too general (as my answer for my Firend’s question). 

A paper for example has a few parts – introduction, literature review/ conceptual framework, methods, results etc. So when we have a task – research XYZ, and one of subtasks is – writing a paper/ article, we can still divide it for smaller parts, and treat them as sub-subtasks 🙂 the same with literature reading – I have it as a subtask to the chapter one, and I can treat each of books and articles to read as sub-subtasks. And put my sub-subtasks in the everyday “to do” list. 

What is an advantage of preparing the everyday “to do” list? We have a clear plan of a day 🙂 We come to the office in the morning and we know what to do 🙂 we don’t need to waste time to think about that every morning – we can prepare one list for all week-days on Friday (if we have free weekends) or we can prepare separate lists for every next day finishing work the day before. 

To be honest – I am not a “to do” list master. I prepare something like – a “weekly to do list” with this small sub-subtasks to complete in the week. I write them down on the paper, and I have them always at my desk. And I put a sign “v” when a task is finished. I don’t put a deadline for each task, because I cannot predict how much time I need – maybe that is why it is the weakly “to do” list not daily. But still, coming to the office in the morning I can see what was finished the day before and know what is next on the list:

I think that the “to do” list is useful and I see that my efficiency increases when I am sure what I want to do this day/ week. 


Useful links: – Sabine Lerch website