10 things to think about when making that next “To Do” list:
- Keep a daily list and a master list. These are two very different things.
- Don’t confuse lists with projects. A daily list contains single tasks (e.g. write a new resume). A master list contains projects or long-term tasks (e.g. learn Spanish).
- “To Do” lists can be stressful. Make sure a list contains no more than ten items and aim to cross off five each day.
- If you feel a sense of achievement when you tick off the items on your list, you probably feel a failure when you don’t. Never add to a list without subtracting something from it.
- By relying on lists, you limit your ability to experiment and try all the things that make life and work interesting. Lists should be a tool, not an obsession. Most people forget this.
- Never write down something on a list that you’ve already done for the pleasure of ticking it off. This is madness and ineffective.
- Bear in mind that if something is that important, you should remember it anyway, if it isn’t so important – why write it down in the first place
- Don’t make lists on the backs of envelopes or anything else temporary. Use a nice notebook (like one of these) or keep them in one digital place, preferably on a smartphone linked to the cloud.
- Boring speakers talk in lists: “And tonight, let’s examine collateral transformation swaps…”
- Don’t round a list up to ten if you don’t need to.
See what I did there?