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Taking Myself to Task: Excel Spreadsheets for Procrastinators


As I've documented in many, many posts, I have more clever ways to procrastinate than just about anyone. Which means that if I want to get anything done, consistently, I need to figure out a way to hold myself accountable.

Which is when I came up with this Excel spreadsheet.

Yes, it's crude and lacking both in sophistication and beauty. But it gets the job done. Since I began using it last month, my productivity has increased in every area. And when I slack off, I can see where and how long it's lasted.

Creating the spreadsheet was simple. On one axis I listed the days of the week. On the other, I listed the activities that currently meant the most to me, things that would improve my life if practiced consistently.  These included: exercise, writing, and reading. Each day, as I spend time on a different task, I color in that activity.

As you can see, last week I did a better job of working on MAP than this week. On the other hand, I've gotten more exercise in this week. Either way, the spreadsheet is a convenient way for me to hold myself accountable and to see, over time, where I spend my time and where I need to focus if I want to meet my goals.

How do you keep track of your progress on important projects?


larramiefg said…
Simply by setting and meeting the mental deadlines for the week. If something isn't completed I can't move on.
Keetha said…
Color me impressed!

I made a chart for my word count goal and then fill it in. That works great until I get out of the habit and forget to update it!
Anonymous said…
It varies. But charting progress sure helps to keep your mind on the job. I've noticed that i make weight loss charts when it's going well an abandon them when they aren't ..can you spell self denial??!
And on the more recent focus of the film editing, I actually pulled open my MS project app in exaseration and did a full blown project plan Gantt chart..because this shows the dependencies of one task on another (horrible) and then, if the date to finish is missed and you move estimated completion date, the date of every task that depends on it moves automatically too, duh! This is real life..and it sure puts a keener sense of urgency into making and keeping commitments to complete stuff..and to making your estimates good..and to being realistic in the first place. Most project managers will tell you that one or more of those componenets are usually missing from their projects, hence why so many of them go off the rails. Maybe I should blog about this??
Candy Gourlay said…
that's brilliant ... i might try that.

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