One of the easiest examples of memorization is a way to visualize to do list. In fact if you ever completed linked list exercise, you can group your tasks together and remember 16-20 tasks for a long time without forgetting them. The real question here is what else should a superlearner do with his tasks?
Do not try to remember everything
Even though you can remember everything you need, do not do this unless you have to. Each time you load a long list into your memory in uses the working memory space and affectively reduces your intellect. Moreover, overusing the same markers will eventually lead to deja vu and mistakes, and generating 100 ways to say “milk” is not the best way to use our time. It does really not matter which way you write down your tasks: Anna uses paper notes and emails, I use Google Apps and Trello, Jonathan uses Asana and IFTTT and some more apps only he can describe.
How to keep task lists?
It is best if the tasks can be accessed from any environment (PC/mobile) and easily copied between various task collections. Some task collections need to be shared, other prioritized. Once you finish a task remove it (if you are perfectionist – move the task to archive and put a date on it). While some tasks constantly change states and ownership (hence asana/trello), other tasks are pretty much binary. It is a good idea either to keep those tasks separated, or to nest small tasks under ongoing projects.
Managing my own projects
One of the hardest things when managing multiple projects, is seamlessly switching between them. Here I always speedread the task-list. The fist tasks I plan to do are listed separately (I prefer spreadsheets per project, and another spreadsheet for “other stuff”). Often I feel like I do not want to do the first task listed – I try to go with the gut feeling and do what I do like to do. Tasks with close milestones are always listed first: if I think I can remove their priority, I just move them to the bottom of the spreadsheet.
When reading the task list and selecting the task to focus on, I am not only doing maintenance, I am focusing on the project at hand, and trying to load mental map for the task I want to do next. When I finally do the task I have no doubts and I am totally focussed.
Managing shared projects
Long gone are the days when I kept the GANTT for the entire operation and people committed milestones and resources. Now I work with many partners, each with his own timeline and agenda. There is only so much I can expect from any serious partner – I need to adapt.
For each project I prefer to state accurate expectations on whatever parameters are known at each state of the project. Coordinating expectations enables each partner to act independently towards the common goal. It is best that the common goal and some other expectations are stated and agreed on clearly in writing before the beginning of any project.
It is OK to expect other people to achieve things we cannot do ourselves – everyone has his own skillset. However I prefer to act with people in a way that is reciprocal, with full accountability and mutual respect.
Minimize people dependence on you
The first trick is not having the ball in my field. I do not want a partner to press on me to deliver, I prefer to deliver as soon as I can and let the partner choose his time. This is a bit counter-intuitive at first, but it shows full commitment and empowers your partners.
I try to do only the things where I have added benefit. If I think my partners can do the work as good or better than me, I step aside and ask them to do the work. I do ask people to disclose some of their little tricks and motivations, and do not take “trust me this is what I do” for an answer – if I can.
If the partner fails to deliver during the timeline and the quality guidelines set for delivery, I do the task myself. Usually the partners I work with will do their job much better than my best effort, however seeing a job not well-done generates a strong will to correct it and offer a better solution.
It is OK to agree to disagree. In this case both parties state their reasons, and decide together on contingency plan and follow-up protocol. During follow up people often change their minds. There are people with whom I regularly switch positions (they adopt my arguments and I adapt theirs).
In each case discussed above I need to deliver the results extremely fast (maybe not the best quality) and remember the projects I did not touch for months. Without superlearning skills this is VERY hard. Some of the tactics discussed here I adopted from Jonathan, others I developed while working as a project manager and CTO.
Celebrate the success
I love to buy myself small tokens of appreciation: gadgets, tickets for experiences, several hours of well-deserved rest. I try to time these “gifts” to completion of some milestones, and I try to time the milestones to the periods when I can get this small gifts with discount prices.
One of the things I often do is reflection. I reflect on what I am going to do, I reflect on how I do it, and I reflect on what I have done. Use the superlearning tools you have to boost project management, state clear goals, achieve them, and enjoy the success.