I would love to say that I am a highly organized, note-taking, list-making, got-it-together but when I need to boy-can-I-delegate type of person, but that would be stretching the truth just a bit. While I am good at making lists and setting tentative dates for To Do completions, I am terrible about recognizing my own limits, setting realistic goals, and asking for help when it’s needed. In other words, I have a tendency to bite off a bit more than I can chew. To make things worse, I tend to develop tunnel vision when I am working on a particularly involved project; I’ll neglect other things that need to be done simply because I forgot to do them.
As a result, I sometimes find myself obsessing about what’s left to do and whether I am doing it in a timely manner, instead of congratulating myself on how much I have actually finished and how well things are going. I have tried keeping myself on track electronically, and for simple To Do lists, such as my review queue or specific items pertaining to my day job, that seems to work pretty well. But it’s the To-Do’s which require steps – or lists – that can sometimes snap at me; I am not nearly as good about electronically notating multiple things which need to be done in a single project, and as a result I sometimes forget to do things that I shouldn’t have.
As much as it pains me to admit it, I have my scatterbrained moments, which is why I have taken to keeping my more complex ToDo lists…on paper. I can’t help it; I like the satisfaction I get when I draw a heavy line through each completed step on my way to the ultimate completion of a larger task. Checking an electronic box, or even worse – simply deleting the task from my PDA – just doesn’t give me the same buzz.
The subject of this review was a surprise in the box that I received from Buttoned Up when they shipped another item I had requested. At first I couldn’t really see myself using the Do&Delegate.list, because it wasn’t one of the 4″ wide x 8″ tall x 0.5″ thick flip-top scratchpads I have taken to carrying. Instead, it was a more cumbersome 8″ tall x 6″ wide x 1.25″ thick hardback binder. Even more troubling (to me, anyway) was the “delegation list” section in the back. You see, I have a tendency to not delegate, because I tend to think that I can handle everything myself…heh.
But I decided to give the book a try…
Let’s step back for a moment, and talk about the Buttoned Up site, and what that’s all about.
Buttoned Up, Inc. was founded in 2004 by four women, three sisters and a best friend. They realized the necessity for a tool like Life.doc [Ed note: this is the product I had asked to review] after experiencing significant life changes − from moving across the country to setting up house after 9/11 to getting divorced after 38 years of marriage to having kids and grandkids. Each of them felt the need to get their lives organized but were unable to find products that could help them control their chaos. They wanted to be liberated from the rigid organizational systems that they bought annually and stopped using after just a few weeks.
After several years of trial, error, effort and research, they started Buttoned Up whose mission is to give women the tools they need to live an organized life not a life of organization.
One of the first things I read on the site when I was gathering information for this review, was their three cardinal rules of getting buttoned up:
1. Stop chasing perfection:
The pursuit of perfection takes a superhuman effort to achieve and a superhuman effort to maintain. You have enough work on your plate already; you don’t need another full time job. So we encourage you to let the need to achieve perfection go.
2. Focus on the 20% of tasks that are critical:
The 80/20 rule states that in any pursuit, if you take care of a few important things (20%), you will solve 80% of your problem. The most efficient way forward is to focus on the 20% that is vital to success and spend less time on the rest.
3. Learn to delegate effectively:
Once you’ve ditched the need for perfection – it becomes much easier to delegate. Too often, we carry an unnecessarily heavy burden – holding on to and yes, controlling, everything. We know that letting go enough to delegate effectively can be a tough challenge – but it is one worth overcoming. If you don’t learn, you’ll never have a lighter load.
What a breath of fresh air for someone like me. Of course, a total stranger giving me permission to “slack” is a lot different than me actually giving myself permission to do it, but I liked the premise. So how does the Do&Delegate.list book fit into all of this?
If you’re feeling like there’s no way you can possibly get it all done, chances are you’re probably right! Keep track of everything that needs to get done on the clean and simple canvas we’ve provided. Then step off the task treadmill and effectively enlist the help of others with the carbon copy delegation notes provided.
Opening the Do&Delegate.list reveals a spiral binder which lays nicely flat when opened; the red, pink and white color combination is decidedly girly without being obnoxious.
Behind the first divider are 75 perforated and lined white pages; there are no little boxes for checking off completed tasks, no dates, and other than the cute little button graphic on each page – no other distractions. It’s up to you how you will use each page, whether it be for notes, task lists, phone numbers, or whatever. One of the first natural uses for my new book was capturing all of the tasks involved in a current ranch project. As I was writing everything down, I was mentally chastising myself for not having done it before; a few of the tasks were in my other notebook already, but until now I hadn’t written a definitive list…maybe because I knew that seeing all of the tasks in one spot would make me realize how huge this particular task really is.
As expected, the next section is where I ran into trouble. I just can’t see myself actually handing anyone a note asking them to do something I would otherwise simply ask them to do…assuming I would ask them to do it in the first place. Obviously I need to work on delegating; I know, I know…
With that said, the “Please Help!” notes are cute. I like how they each have a duplicate so that you can keep the copy to remember exactly which tasks you did delagate (so you can catch someone else is slacking for a change), and I especially like the little options at the bottom where you can check kisses, money, dinner, or flowers as the appropriate thank you; I assume that those are actual promises of “payment”, not the virtual kind.
I like that the Do&Delegate.list doesn’t include a dedicated calendar or contacts list, because those are things I keep on my iPhone, and there is no reason to waste paper on them.
So here’s the thing: Yes, I could keep writing my random tasks down in my scratchpad; it is smaller, easier to carry, and it was less expensive. But I have found that I like having an “official” book in which to keep my To Do lists. Sure, I’ll still keep my review queue and other simple tasks in electronic format, but having the other things I need to keep track of – my project task lists – in a book where I can easily see them, doodle around them, scribble notes as thoughts occur to me, and ultimately cross items out upon completion is proving to be quite nice. Will I ultimately use those “Please Help” notes as intended? Maybe…eventually.
The Buttoned Up Do&Delegate.list is available from the manufacturer and from other retailers.
What I Like: Lined and perforated pages can be used to write notes, make lists, write numbers…whatever; book lays flat; crossing off completed items on a paper list feels good
What Needs Improvement: It’s a little bit bigger than the pad I am used to carrying, but it still fits in my bag