autumn focus for editing tasks

Autumn is the time of year when I most want to change my systems. Perhaps it’s from those long years of beginning a new school year each September that still have me looking for a new routine each September. Over the years I’ve found more effective ways to channel this seasonal need for change.

I review, revise, and edit my task lists.

Why? I regularly review. How is this different? After determining if the task is still relevant, I go in deep. I’ll review not only the surface meaning of each task, but if it’s written in an actionable way. I also use this time to make sure the sub-tasks I need to accomplish are there. By focusing deeply on all of my tasks it allows me to determine how they align in a manner that I don’t always touch on during my reviews.

This autumn focus helps me feel that I’m going about my work in a different way and it fulfills my need for change.

Tips for editing the task lists


sometimes a cat helps me reorder my tasks

This is more relevant for my digital lists which are the ones that most often suffer from clutter. My preferences is to order tasks by due date.

For this review, I resort alphabetically. That creates an order without actionable meaning and helps me see if there are unintentional patterns in how I word my tasks. Does that help or hinder my completing them?

But what about the lists in my notebooks? For these analog lists, I’ll cover half the page and focus on the remaining visible tasks.


Open Notebooks with pen showing handwritten list
the words i choose for my tasks matter

I often find patterns in the language I use to write my tasks. One of my most common tasks in my digital lists is along the lines of: update report.

I think about my word choices and make sure not only do I have an action verb, I have specifics.

A task that states “Update format of September sales report – column spacing” helps me not having to waste my time figuring out what I need to do for that specific report.


photo of logbook with some codes
example of some of my symbols

I like to use symbols and codes in my notebooks.

I use this time of year to review what I use and make adjustments.

Earlier this year I had to make change my client code format when multiple clients almost ended up with the same code!

Do you feel the need to make changes at this time of year? Instead of looking for a magical cure, focus on your tasks with these tips instead!