08 April 2014

Banish the to-do list

Lately I've been trying out a new habit- not using a to do list. And I'm getting more done than ever!

Let me explain.

Throughout the day, a million little tasks are thrown at you. Beyond that, there are inevitably things you need to follow up on, do something about, or otherwise review. For example, if you attend a meeting at work, you need to type minutes, take care of tasks that arose during the meeting, follow up with people you need to speak with. I used to add these tasks to my to do list- if I thought of it or had time before my next thing. They would get put in the queue, and sometimes that was it. Especially if it was something that I didn't want to do- I'd wait, then the next day I'd put it off, and so on... until the thing was so overdue or long over that I was too embarrassed to resurrect it. It was the tell-tale heart of professional tasks.

That, or I simply forgot what happened. Why did I need to call Carrie re: website? What was "list coll exp"?

Not only that, but I spent time every day rereading these to do lists, thinking about them, and not acting on them. Talk about a supreme waste of my time!

So, I got rid of my to do list.

Okay, not fully, but the habit has become to deal with it (whatever it is) immediately. Think about it once, do it once, move on. Things that can't be done immediately don't get looked at until I can, like non urgent emails. Deal with it, delete it, and move on.

I know that this is probably obvious to some, but it wasn't to me, so I thought I'd put it out there. What do you think?

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