To Do Lists or Not To Do Lists?
I’m a big lists person. I make lists all the time. The sad thing is making to do lists doesn’t seem to make me more organised.
Far from it. Rather it seems to have the opposite effect because I have lists scrawled on scraps of paper in my handbag, a list of things to do in my desk diary, lists in various shorthand notebooks that I’ve just happened to have handy at the time, and now a list to end all lists on something called a Day Planner that I bought to satisfy my addiction for stationery.
The Day Planner is available at Office Works and suggests 6 principles of time management.
- Create a daily list of tasks
- Give each task a priority A,B,C
- Ensure that you work on the “A” tasks first
- Handle each piece of paper on your desk only once
- Ensure that you make the best use of your time
- Don’t postpone anything – Do it now!
I managed to fill two pages of that pristine, beautifully lined Day Planner with 32 tasks, of which I accomplished 7. I was gutted that I managed to finish so few of my ‘to do’ jobs. What was I doing instead? Search me. I reckon I would have accomplished more and felt better about myself without those 32 jobs squealing at me from the Day Planner.
I think I’m done with lists. Unless I can write them on pretty paper. I’m a sucker for pretty paper.
If you ask me lists have a lot to answer for.
- They make you feel guilty for not accomplishing everything you hoped to achieve.
- They especially make you feel guilty for putting off certain items which in reality you have no intention of ever doing because they are just Too Hard.
- They suck all the spontaneity from your day and deny any inspiration and exploration.
- They take a lot of time maintaining, which means you waste a lot of time crossing things out and re-writing others.
- Lists make your day feel like an obligation not an adventure in living Fabulously.
- A fresh list gives you the illusion that progress will be made, but in reality it sets you up for disappointment.
It’s true, I’ve written some strange things on lists in my time, but none so funny, weird, sad or strange as you might find at Grocery Lists where there’s a compilation of discarded grocery lists – the comments are a hoot and It’s an amusing glimpse into strangers’ lives – a sort of random sneak preview of what to expect if you went round for dinner.
If you must – some list making tips
In reality though we all have to get *shit* done. My fuddled old brain ain’t got no capacity for remembering stuff that didn’t get done last week, so I do need to make lists. Here are some tips that help me 🙂
- It it’s a daily list then keep it simple – you’re unlikely to achieve 32 complex things in a day! Stick to 5 or 10 ‘must-do’s’.
- Start the list with the most important tasks and make sure you tick them off first.
- Likewise, the things you don’t really want to do, but know that you should!
- Include some easy tasks, such as – make the bed, hang out the washing, wash the dishes – because ticking them off will make you feel productive and up for more!
- A list item such as ‘Work on my book’ isn’t explicit enough. Rather put – Write Chapter 1 or whatever.
- If your list includes telephoning people, then make sure you write their numbers down on the list so you have them ready.
A Random List from the Depths of my Handbag
Thinking about odd ball lists, I found a random list of mine from the depths of an old handbag, which prompted this post! In scrawly writing, let it be known at some time in my dark and distant past I needed to buy ….
- Srpinkler (sic) – obviously for the lawn.
- Black Pot – refer to the garden again, not a three legged cast iron African pot (had one for years)
- Pole thingy for roller – WHAT was that? What was I doing?
- Wire clamps and hooks – DOUBLE *WHAT*? Sounds gruesome. And I am no Mrs Fix-it .
- Cockroach spray – Aha, there must have been a problem Houston.
- Ant spray – As well?
- Fruit – definitely a live life fabulously after fifty requirement
- Wine (one with that pretty label)
- Milk Thistle tablets – probably to counteract the wine.
- And finally,
- Loo Paper – aha the victory roll.
The role of paper vs technology
The way I see it writing something on paper can be looked at, lost and scrapped. I quite like that, but I don’t like the mess in my handbag, which could safely become a breeding ground for mice. Recording stuff on paper means it’s transient information, and you can edit it on the run, but preferably not when you’re changing gear and applying lipstick in the rear view mirror.
When you’re on the phone to someone boring you can doodle and draw all over your lists and make visual cues to remind you that some things are more important to accomplish than others and sometimes, if the thought of having to re-write the not-done bits of the list out again is so great, you might, just might achieve everything on it.
As I’m a techno dinosaur, I still haven’t totally mastered writing a ‘To Do’ list on my computer or my phone, although I have installed and looked at fondly, an Editorial Calender plugin on WordPress.
The trouble with a list on my computer is that I’m so busy surfing the net and searching (read wasting time) for other gems of distraction and information that I completely ignore technological prompts, and unless someone can devise an App that yells, “Get off the sodding internet and get writing instead,” then I’ll probably never complete a To Do list whether it’s situated on my hard drive or not.
Oh crikey. Maybe I should get stern with myself and write a To Do list today after all?
Now where’s that pretty stationery?
As I’m Lovin’ Life this Thursday morning I think it’s time for a little happy trip to buy some today 😉 Do you love pretty paper too? Do you have any list making tips?
Lovin’ Life Linky
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