A List About Making Lists

10 things to think about when making that next “To Do” list:

  1. Keep a daily list and a master list. These are two very different things.
  2. 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).
  3. “To Do” lists can be stressful. Make sure a list contains no more than ten items and aim to cross off five each day.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Never write down something on a list that you’ve already done for the pleasure of ticking it off. This is madness and ineffective.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. Boring speakers talk in lists: “And tonight, let’s examine collateral transformation swaps…”
  10. Don’t round a list up to ten if you don’t need to.

See what I did there?