The To-do list is getting bad reviews, these days. It’s pushed into the bad pages of everyone’s productivity history. I think the problem is not with the humble to-do list, but the way we use it.
I suggest re-defining our To-Do list as Task Engagement List.
Misuse and Abuse of To-do list
Currently to-do lists are misused or abused as:
– To-do list is used like a ‘nice to-do list’
– To-do list is like a maybe to do list
– To-do list is used like a list to forget to take action upon
Instead use the list. Use it to make task engagement list.
To do list is NOT for the important things, I can remember those. The purpose of the to-do list is for those tiny, ugly tasks – not that I can’t remember them, I want to forget them – so it frees up mind to have a mental space to focus upon work at hand. I use it like a dynamic list (an idea that I’m stealing from Mark Forster) to break items of a project and work upon.
To engage with the to-do list, one could use a variety of techniques:
- FV/ FVP
- No-list FVP
A Warning, Actually Half-a-dozen of Warnings
- Don’t mild away by beautifying the list
- Don’t engage in organizing, categorizing, prioritizing it in multiple ways.
- To-do lists are that – lists that should help you to do stuff. You are not going to get an award for having the best organized list
- Don’t wait for any idea to be qualified to be on a list
- You can always choose not to do a task. It’s your list, you have no obligation to anyone to do any task for the matter
- Don’t wish to complete your to-do list
- Our obsession with productivity is clearly dangerous. Let it be. You are after all human, we all are. It’s okay to slack.
- Don’t let to-do list to direct your life
- Like any other mental tool, to-do list is to help you, not the other way around.
Use your to-do list to engage with your task and get done with it. Life is after all in doing a task, so you can do another one.