To Do List by thenoodleator.

photo credit thenoodleator

We’ve seen it. Most of us have had fierce encounters with it. And still — it lives! OK, this may seem a bit dramatic, but I’ve come across a lot of bad To Lists in my career. And even when it’s done well, The List can still haunt. So what can be done?

A common problem with To Do lists are To Do’s that live on past their to do dates, i.e., items on your list that didn’t get done on the assigned day. Once you turn the page or click forward to the following day, you run the risk of forgetting the item (out of sight, out of mind), or else you find yourself transferring items day after day, which can get tiresome. The important thing here is to be asking yourself: Why wasn’ I able to complete this? Am I avoiding it? Not allowing enough time? Being too perfectionistic? By asking the right questions, you will get the information you need to re-schedule it properly. Or you may find that you want to delegate it, or not do it at all.

Another way to handle To Do transfers is to work with a Master List. If you organize your list according to importance and time pressure, you can simply pull items off on a daily basis. If the item was not completed that day, it remains on the Master List where it won’t be overlooked or forgotten. (This concept also works very well for things you need to buy.)

To Do Lists are supposed to work *for* you. By trying to manage a reasonable number day-to-day and tracking the rest on a master list you can stay in control and feel more productive.

4 Responses to "Revenge Of The To Do List"

  1. jamie

    April 20, 2009

    I love lists but they can get overwhelming. What’s working for me currently is having a master to-do book. Each day I’ll pull items off that list that I want to accomplish.

    And that’s a great question – why am I not doing this?

  2. sunny

    April 20, 2009

    I really like the concept of a master to-do book, myself, but I’ve found that a number of my clients have that same problem – – close the book, out of sight,out mind. Lists can actually work the same way as a book, if you keep them together on a coloful clipboard. You’re more likely to keep track of the clipboard, and al of your lists will be on it!

  3. Tina

    April 20, 2009

    My to-do lists aren’t too bad —- mostly because I don’t put much on it and don’t do much! What drives me CRAZY is the stack of bills to-be-paid and other misc that accumulates. I can’t seem to keep the stack clear. I guess in essence that is my to-do and that I keep it out not to forget. But I wish it could “look” better. I just haven’t found the right basket or box.

  4. sunny

    April 20, 2009

    First question, Tina – Are you an Everything Out or a Nothing Out? That has a lot to do with what system you’ll like the most. Even though I’m more of an Everything Out, I know that I have to pay bills every month and so I can put them into an expandable file, by month and look for them there when the date arrives. Having them out makes me feel too overwhelmed at times.

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