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How to Create - and Use - a Someday/Maybe List

Time to read: Under 2 minutes

Many of us have started 2012 with goals for the new year. Some of these may be new and others may be revised or carried over from last year.

You may have written them down (always a good thing), broken them into categories such as professional and personal, and listed specific, measurable steps on how to reach each goal. Let’s assume that you have done this – or will soon – and skip ahead.  

Often, however, there are projects that don’t neatly fit into the goals you’ve deemed important for this year. I call these someday/maybe projects that lurk in the back of your mind. A few examples: go completely paperless, improve a process, or update a procedure manual. At some point in the future, you would like to accomplish them.

Below are some thoughts on how to clarify and handle projects that you want to complete someday…maybe.

Tips to Create a Someday/Maybe List

The most important tip for a Someday/Maybe List is to have it recorded somewhere outside of your brain. If these projects are not written down, then they will take up space in your head and get in the way of more pressing issues.  Or, you will forget about them completely.

Try the tips below for your Someday/Maybe projects:
  • List the activities on paper or electronically with a brief description of each.
  • If feasible, store the list in close proximity to your regularly-checked To-Do list so that you are less likely to forget about it.
  • Review the Someday/Maybe List on a monthly basis. Schedule an appointment on your calendar if needed.  That way the projects will remain relevant.
  • Approach your list with an open mind. At some point, an activity in the Someday/Maybe List may support one of your goals.
  • Be realistic with the items on your Someday/Maybe List. If they have languished there for a long time, they may need to be deleted.

Where do these Someday/Maybe ideas come from?
  • You are in the middle of an important project and other ideas for improvement arise. You don’t want to stall the current project, so write the ideas down on your Someday/Maybe List.
  • You read an article that gave you a great idea. The article is at the bottom of a pile of paper on your desk. File the article and write the idea on your list.
  • You attend a class and the instructor brings up an idea that appeals to you but you can’t get to it yet. That’s okay. Write the idea down immediately and then transfer it to the Someday/Maybe List.
  • Out of the blue, an idea pops into your head. Call your own voice mail to record the idea and, when you return to the office, add it to the Someday/Maybe List.

Imagine how great it will feel to capture ideas that come from all directions and keep tabs on them for future use. When you’re ready, the ideas are there – waiting for you or your team to act on them.  

Would you like assistance creating and organizing your daily, yearly and Someday/Maybe Lists? I am available to help you establish your priorities, sort your projects and create powerful lists that will help you get things done and keep you focused on your goals. 

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My Vlog

Desktop paper organizers are as common in offices as coffee cups. In this 4-minute video, Dr. Melissa Gratias introduces a paper organizer named George. She describes the best - and worst - uses of desktop paper organizers.

Next Month's Newsletter:

Frustrated with the volumes of paper that comes into your offices from meetings and/or seminars? Let's talk about what to keep and what to toss.  

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Want to get organized?  Call me and let's turn Someday/Maybe into Today/Absolutely.

Melissa Gratias, Ph.D.

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