With the new year a few days away, I wanted to offer a useful article on the most basic of motivational and organizational tools, the humble to-do list. Some lessons have to be learned over and over, and in my case it is implemenation of a to-do list. I know I’m not alone in this, because I took a poll over a couple of days, and did not find one person that was properly using a to-do list.
What were they doing wrong? Well, assuming they even maintained a to-do list, they did not have it with them. Most had a to-do list on their desk at work, but that fails to do anything about personal goals and long-term projects.
So, my simple advice: Keep it with you and keep it simple. I experienced a quantum leap in efficiency in bringing all my back-burner projects to the front burner when I started keeping a to-do list in my top pocket. If I have a thought, I pull it out and write it down. Yes, I WRITE it down. I keep an electronic to-do list on my iPhone, and it syncs across my Kindle Fire, iPad and PC (the program I use — Remember the Milk — is free at rememberthemilk.com). That is very useful, and I really like that I can sit down for a brainstorming session and create a master list of projects and then break it down into individual tasks, but in my experience a lot of my spontaneous ideas don’t get recorded if I have to pull out my phone and navigate to a to-do program, and then type in my thoughts. Pen and paper still wins, at least for me.
On that subject, I came across the following article by Lawrence Ng [reprinted here with permission]about implementing to-do lists. It’s all pretty common sense stuff, but as my poll revealed, most people don’t follow these suggestions. ↓ Read the rest of this entry…