Tuesday, 17 May 2011

To Do

I’ve been through my fair share of time management courses, books and systems. I suspect you have too. Some of them are actually been useful; some less so.

Yet the old stand-by that never fails is the good old To Do list. It’s not fancy, it’s not complicated, but it is effective. A day in the office without a To Do list is likely to be less productive than a day with a To Do list. Somehow it focuses the mind; even if the list only has one big item on it.

So why is a To Do list so useful?

I think it has two benefits. Firstly, it requires purposeful thought in order to write it. If you don’t know what you are trying to achieve, your lack of purpose becomes abundantly obvious. Deciding your objective then becomes your first To Do item. If your objectives are clear, then a little thought about what To Do next produces your list.

Secondly, having decided what should be done listing them provides focus through the day. When you get called into an unexpected meeting, or something takes longer than expected, the list pulls you back to what you hoped to achieve. It often produces a last bit of extra effort at the end of the day to get one or two more items ticked off.

There is something ridiculously satisfying in being able to tick things off.

The To Do list is so simple that it seems almost ridiculous to write several paragraphs on the subject. Yet I’m not the first fan to put fingers to keyboard and take up virtual air time with a subject that must seem second nature to any productive person.

So – can a To Do list be beaten? Is there anything better at aiding and abetting the person who wants to Get Things Done? I’d be interested to know whether anyone can trump it …

10 comments:

  1. Michael Dempsey24 May 2011 at 12:59

    Yes and it is stress reliever! You have all these things milling about in your head about things that have to be done. When you have actually scheduled them, the stress goes away because your immediate future is knowable. Whew

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