To Do List, or Not To Do List – that is the question

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To Do list
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Here I sit, looking out of the office window, seeking inspiration for my blog, when unbidden, a terrible thought enters my mind.  “I have to update my contact list.” Another thought gallops into my head. “I have to gather the information for my 2017 calendar.” Before I realise what is happening, legion thoughts pummel my brain with reminders of things I have forgotten that I have to do! My eyes take in the pile of paper on my desk, and fall upon my to do list. I contemplate adding my remembered items to the bottom of the list, and then realise that as there are several things on the list that I haven’t done yet. Don’t even remember needing to do, and I wonder about the usefulness of a to do list.

What you need to remember about to do lists is that they only work if you use them. Added to that, they are only useful as a reminder. When you take time management programs they always tell you that such lists are an incredibly useful tool. They can be. This is why you can get so many different free programs and apps to help you create and manage your list. The one thing that these lists don’t do, is actually get the tasks done.

Prioritize

I have fifteen things on my to do list. All are equally important. Only one will get done at a time. It is not time I need to manage, but priorities. My question then becomes, how do I prioritize my list of 15 things to do? The most obvious way to do that is to look at the deadlines and time-limits that I have imposed on the tasks. Sometimes that is all that is needed to help you choose which task to grapple with that day.

If there are no obvious tasks with higher priority over others, then you have the luxury of choosing which one to complete. That still doesn’t ensure you complete the task. You are the only person who can do that. And the only way you can complete a task, is to start. So go to it!

One Response

  1. Nice post! I always think that a to do list is one of the most overlooked tools that professionals can use to accomplish their goals. In addition to getting more out of your day, it is incredibly satisfying crossing the various items off your list as you progress through it! When 5 o’clock roles around, I am always amazed at what I have been able to achieve.

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