Hello Future Me

You know this situation well - I can almost guarantee it. 

It's time to go through your to-do list and start taking action against the tasks, or actions, you have decided are outstanding and need to be completed. You're pumped, ready to go and start owning the day. 

You've got your coffee next to you, the ambience is great because your pumping some appropriate tunes through your headphones - chill-out music if you need to concentrate or something more hardcore if that's your thing. 

You're in the zone, ready for the flow to start. 

You look at the first task. Looks pretty easy. 

Phone Dave

Erm...right. OK. I can do that but...why did I need to phone Dave again? 

Tell you what, I'll push that aside until I remember what I needed to speak to him about and move onto the next one. What have we got? 

Schedule Meeting with Marketing Team

Hmm, what was this meeting about? Was it about the issue I have with Project A? Hang on - didn't my line manager call me last week asking to arrange a meeting? Why did I need to do that?

Oh dear, this isn't going well. 

Sound familiar? I know this to be true because I've been there so many times in the past. Looking at entries in OmniFocus 2 (that meant something to me when I created them, yet mean absolutely nothing now!

My workaround for this is very simple, yet has multiple benefits at the same time. 

I create tasks by delegating them to my future self

I imagine that the future Lee knows nothing about the present Lee and I think about the information that he is going to need in order to be able to get this work completed. 

Let's take the first one - Phone Dave. The action title itself will be something along the lines of Phone Dave to discuss the testing that is required for 64-bit Office 2016 in our Head Office Procurement Department. That's a good start. Then, the notes section will have Dave's number or Skype name as well as some key bullet points that I need to cover. 

When I come across this on my Actions List, there is no need for deferment, I can action this straight away. 

If there are links to documentation that may need to be referred to, I'll add these in as well to save gathering them at the last minute and losing time. 

Even better than this, if for whatever reason I cannot make this call, I can delegate to someone else, safe in the knowledge they have all of the information they need. After all, when I created the action, I delegated it to my future self in the first place. 

Remember that the future, better version of you will have a lot going on in his/her head and will not be able to remember the context that the action was created in. You cannot be too detailed when creating an action and if helps you pass actions on to other people in your team, that can only benefit everyone.