You probably use a to do list to stay organised.

Simple handwritten lists work well for many people. Others use online or off-line productivity applications.

Millions swear by more complicated organisational systems such as David Allen’s Getting Things Done.

Leo Babauta at Zen Habits suggests you kill your to do list.  He has a point. Babauta says lists suck up your time and drain motivation. I agree.

I don’t agree with Babauta’s alternative. This has nothing to do with his use of the passion cliché.

Babauta suggests you focus on one important thing. This doesn’t apply to my work as a freelance writer. It probably won’t work for most knowledge workers.

My approach uses a short-term to do list. I write what I hope to do over the next few hours, maybe one whole day.

Nothing more. No long-term lists. No someday-maybe lists. No @home, @office nonsense.

If you think you’ll forget things Babauta says you should make a reminder note, but don’t use it as a to do list. This also makes sense to me. I put my reminders on my calendar.

I find reminders, a short-term list and a calendar are all I need to stay on top of organisation.

One thought on “A better to do list

  1. It’s probably true that the more complicated the system is, the less likely one is to use it. On the other hand, a good system evolves and becomes more personalised over time. My guess is that every successful person has an effective way of planning, prioritising and tracking tasks but while it is necessary for success it is not, on its own, sufficient.

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