You may be reading this title and scratching your head wondering what the heck an OOT is? Don’t worry, it’s not some strange new dance or the latest social media platform full of people doing that new strange dance! OOT refers to “One Off Tasks!”
What’s On Your List?
If you are anything like me, you have a list of “things to do”. This could be a physical list, a digital list or the dreaded “Silent List” (or more likely, all three!).
The Silent List is all the things in your environment that need doing, and you are aware of them, almost in a subconscious way. As catch sight of the carpet and your brain logs that it needs vacuuming all the while you aren’t consciously thinking it, you are, say picking up that pen you dropped.
That Silent List is ever present and then what do we do? Create lots of noisy lists that we check daily, shift things around on and come up with new and improved methods of tracking those lists!
Now, let me get back on track – on those lists, you will probably have some OOTs – One Off Tasks. Here’s some of mine:
- Organise physical photographs
- Label all my cables
- Organise the tools and bits into the new box
- Fix the Backup system
- Shred all business files outside the 7 year mark
Once done each of these tasks will be sorted. I don’t print photos any more so once I’ve organised them I won’t need to do it again. Same with the others. That’s what makes them OOTs.
Do Your OOTs Linger?
So, how many OOTs are on your list? And how long have they been there? Many of mine have been squatting like some grumpy toad in a wet log, on my lists for… well, longer than I want to admit! And why is that? Why do we not get them done? Why do they linger so?
That is not rocket-science. If you don’t get your OOTs done, it’s usually because they either will (or we think they will) take a certain amount of our time. Our time is precious, isn’t it? We cram our days full to the brim so how on earth are we expected to get an OOT done?
We might grab 10 mins here, 20 mins there but we don’t want to start an OOT with these scratty patches of time. No, we need longer but when will that happen? When will we get a nice chunky hour or two for such tasks?
Enter, the OOT Day!
Create an OOT Day
Instead of waiting around for that magical hour or two to fall into our laps, how about we select one day a month as an OOT Day. Even just half a day can be enough, a nice block of time to get something done (maybe even more than one).
I personally recommend you select just one OOT task for that day. If you finish that task and there’s still a good chunk of time left, then grab another! But don’t go into your OOT Day with a laundry list of OOTs to complete, that’s the fastest way to get nothing done and feel overwhelmed.
If you have OOTs on your list that have been there for a while, getting 1 task done a month is better than none. Then you get to strike it off your list for good!
Make The Best Of OOT Days
Pick your day and schedule it in your calendar. Let those you live with know your plan so that nothing else gets booked in on that day.
Select your OOT task you want to complete for the day.
I have a list on my Trello Board where I store my OOTs so I don’t have to scroll through my whole list to find any. I use the Trello card Checklist to include all steps, and any tools/equipment I’ll need to complete the task.
This reduces the likelihood of me hitting a snag by not having something I need to complete it.
Gather everything you need and find the best place to work. This is why it’s good to let others know. You don’t want to plan to spread out on the kitchen table, only to find another family member is working there.
I like to set a timer just as I start and then check it when I’m done to see just how long the task (that I’ve been putting off) actually took me. They never take as long as I assume they will!
Don’t forget to switch off the notifications on your phone, ask not to be disturbed and start that OOT.
What is one OOT that’s still on your list?
(click image above to order)