The blog

Previous article

Next article

01 Sep

A to-do-list in hand is better than five a week

Datum: 2010-09-01 09:48

Are you in the habit of writ­ing a new to-do-list every morn­ing? Do you have to trans­fer tasks from yesterday’s list to today’s list, because you didn’t have time for what you had in mind? ??

Do you then feel uplift­ed and eager to get start­ed with today’s tasks, or does it feel like you start your day with a heavy back­pack filled with delayed tasks??? 

Instead of writ­ing a new list every morn­ing, let the list include every­thing you can think of that needs to be done and let it live over time. ??Why? Well, this is how I see it:

The pre­dictably unpredictable

If you write a new to-do list every morn­ing, it means that you are try­ing to pre­dict what you will have time to do dur­ing the day.?? One thing we know for sure: unex­pect­ed things will hap­pen dur­ing the day. These unfore­seen things often mean that we need to spend time and ener­gy to solve them, do them or get them out of the way. ??The things we’ve put down on today’s list eas­i­ly falls out of pri­or­i­ty and the unex­pect­ed things are giv­en prece­dence. The con­se­quence will be that you don’t have time to do every­thing you thought you would have time for and you may have to trans­fer the remain­ing tasks to the next day’s list.

In those sit­u­a­tions it is clos­er at hand to feel defeat­ed rather than look­ing at what real­ly hap­pened — that you man­aged to pri­or­i­tize prop­er­ly amongst your to-do-tasks; those on the list and those which showed up unex­pect­ed­ly.?? It’s easy to the­o­rize about what we will have time to do dur­ing the week, but it’s not as easy to know in advance which tasks actu­al­ly will be the most impor­tant tasks to make time for. We don’t have the big pic­ture of what will hap­pen through­out the week and there­fore can’t be sure that it will be these ten things in par­tic­u­lar that we’ve writ­ten on the list that will be the ten most impor­tant to actu­al­ly do.

Cre­ate an in-total-list

So, do not cre­ate a new list every morn­ing with what you are sup­posed to do dur­ing the day, but instead now take twen­ty min­utes when you on an emp­ty sheet of paper or in the place where you have your to-do-tasks, write down every­thing that you cur­rent­ly have to do. Make sure you write down absolute­ly every­thing, from now and as far into the future as you pos­si­bly can imagine.?

?It will become a data­base of every­thing you’ve got to do and you no longer, like before, need to pon­der on and wor­ry whether you real­ly remem­ber every­thing from yes­ter­day when you are writ­ing today’s list (per­haps you don’t have yesterday’s list avail­able at the moment). You don’t have to spend time and ener­gy writ­ing some­thing again that you wrote down yes­ter­day already. ??It will be a very long list. If you feel stressed when you look at every­thing you’ve writ­ten, remem­ber that you had all these things to do before you wrote the list any­way, it’s just that you see them clear­ly now and you have now made it pos­si­ble to work with them in a sys­tem­at­ic, dynam­ic and flex­i­ble way.??You are now able to take com­mand of every­thing you’ve got to do.

Pri­or­i­tize gradually

Amongst all the tasks, choose the one that is just the right one to do right now, mean­ing, the one that has the high­est pri­or­i­ty.?? When you’ve fin­ished it, select the sec­ond best task to do, and then the next and so on and so forth.??When some­thing new shows up, do it right away or add it to the list while wait­ing to be pri­or­i­tized.?? You no longer need to keep things on your mind, remem­ber or wor­ry about some­thing falling into obliv­ion. If you keep it updat­ed, the things you have to do will now be safe­ly stored on the list.

How do you do it?

How do you keep track of every­thing you’ve got to do?

Feel free to leave a com­ment below.