‘to do’ lists – how can we make this topic interesting?

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Saturday 8 October 1664

….So home to bed, being weary and cold, but contented that I have made an end of that business….

brief business meetings with our redoubtable entrepreneur Mr Pepys. At least the day ends with a suggestion of contentment but cold? In October? It’s a hard life….

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I don’t know if ‘To Do’ lists are more trouble than they are worth. It is a standard British joke that such a list indicates that it will join many other items which will probably only be dealt with in cases of extreme need. Why not abandon them altogether and do a task when it comes into your mind? This will work on a small scale but when different types of tasks are indicated, then an element of planning and memory jogging is appropriate.

Looking at the Internet surprise surprise someone has created a public service website called todolist.com  simple and effective but I would rather use my notepad or sticky notes app.
Easy to see…
when I turn on my PC.

Kevin Kruse, an expert on such things says that to-do lists can make people more stressed out and claims than only a minority of tasks are actually completed. He says that writing lists is ‘one of the worst’ ways of making sure you take care of your work, and that they are ‘where important tasks go to die’.  Mr Kruse, the author of ’15 Secrets Successful people know about time management’ said that none of the 200 billionaires, entrepreneurs or Olympians he has interviewed use to-do lists.

Cynically I could say it is because most of them have PA’s or secretaries to remind them to do things and others to do menial work.

Back to us ordinary mortals.

It could be said that the act of writing somehow gives relief from worrying about something so you don’t actually do anything. It is good to remind ourselves that we are not equally good at doing everything. We do not have all skills or all experience. A wise person knows when to delegate.

I have noticed that I do better at certain types of activity at certain times of day. Reading is good in the evening. New types of activity in the morning.

My thoughts about ‘to-do’ lists.

Guaranteed to produce stress. This book is not written by an American by any chance?

A list is only as good as your discipline. Why is any item on it? Is it because you do not want to do it? Can you just do something without putting it on a list?

Is the task something that you can do yourself or do you need help?

Is the task fantasy or is it realistic to attain. Maybe you need a ‘dream’ list as well.
List by importance.

 

There are tasks that are important
There are tasks that are urgent
There are tasks that are important but not urgent
… you can work out the rest.

There are tasks that you could take on out of the goodness of your heart, community mindedness etc. which may become burdensome.
If you apply filters to your list, that very act may minimise stress.

 

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