new about the to do list. Researchers have been jotting down
lists of things they need to do and then checking each item off the
list as they need to do and then checking each item off the list as
they do them for a very long time . The more you need to - do, and the
more pressure you feel to do it, the more helpful the list can be.
Researchers have spelled out the uses and misuses of the to do
list in his ground breaking 1973 book, Time Management : How to get
control of your time and your life. They have showed us how to prioritize
those to do items, making sure we tackled the essential items
first. Lakeins idea was to use the list to get everything done,
starting with the important. But the overall goal was to live a happy,
well rounded life. Lakein had the wisdom to consider rest, recreation
and relationships as important components of the full life.
Subsequent time management coaches seem to have lost lakeins gentle
wisdom and sense of proportion. The to do list has become a means of
fitting ever more work in to the same limited 24 hour day . The list
become a tyrant , pushing us to DO MORE instead of helping us to better
and to better and to do right . Time management consultant Anne Mc Gee
Cooper identifies the resulting sense of frenzy in her book Tim
Management for Unmanageable people: The Guilt free way to organize
way to organize energizes and maximizes your life.
When you try to get more done in the same amount of time, she counsels,
you run think of overload, a phenomenon know in computer lingo as Thrashing
when the computer gets too many commands at once and get stuck trying
to decide what to do first. There are other dangers inherent in developing
a list of tasks the night before or during the morning of each workday.
To illustrate those dangers, lets look as a sample to do
list, one that makes just about every possible mistake.
for creating a Healthy TO DO List
Put Too Much on it :
This is fundamental. Master this one, and everything else falls in to
place. Be realistic in your expectations and your time estimates. Make
a real world list, not an itinerary for fantasy land. Other wise,
youll spend the day running late, running scared just flat
out running to catch up. You wont even have time to notice how
your efficiency drops as you become cranky and exhausted.
2. Put some air
in it :
Overestimate the commute time. Figure in the wait before the meeting,
the time spent on hold, the traffic back up.
3. List Possibilities
, not Imperatives :
This speaks more to your of mind when you make the list than to the
specific notations on that list. Youre listing those tasks that
you hope, want, and yes need to finish during the day. Youre not
creating a blueprint for the rest of the universe, and your plans dont
have the force of natural law. What happened if you dont get to
every thing on your list? What happened, for example, if you wake up
simply too ill to crawl out of bed, let alone tackle the crammed workday?
The meeting went on with out you, folks figured out they could live
without the quarterly report for another week
Carve the list on stone Tablets :
When researchers first started making a to do list each day.
They will type the list in to their computer and run it off on the laser
printers. Your list has to be flexible if it going to do you any good.
You have to be able to change it, digress from it, and flip it on its
really going to help. Dont try to fit a format. Find or create
a format that fits you.
5. Order Creatively
Make sure the most important tasks get done before you drown in a sea
of relative trivia. Answer the E- Mail first if its the top priority
on your list. If it isnt schedule it for later in the day. Dont
do it first simply because its there, demanding attention, or
because its relatively easy, or because youve gotten into
the habit of doing it first. Vary your place, alternating difficult
and easy, long and short jobs requiring creative thought with rote functions.
Change activities often enough to keep afresh and attack mentally taxing
jobs when youre the most alert and energetic.
6. Break the
Boulders in to pebbles:
When a researcher first started editing his news letter, creativity
connection, he boxed off an entire afternoon on his calendar to DO
NEWSLETTER. He had carefully counted backwards from the publication
date to allow for printing date to allow for printing and mailing and
he figured full hours was plenty of time to write and edit the materials
and lay it out in PageMaker. He no longer scheduled a session to DO
NEWSLETTER. He schedules several sessions, one to write, edit,
reader letters, another for the writer profile, and so forth. He prepares
the market updates relatively close to final deadline to keep them current.
7. Schedule Breaks,
Goofs, Time Out time, and little Rewards :
Most of us schedule rest for last if we schedule
it at all. By the time we get to it if we get it to its
too late to do us any good. If you dont put rest on the list,
you wont do it. So put it on the list .And doesnt save it
for last. Plan the rest for when it will do you some good, before you
become too tense or executed. Brief rests at the right times will help
you maintain a steady, efficient work pace.
8. Schedule for
Long Range as well as Short Term Goals :
You know you should do some serious financial planning. You know you
should have a current will. You should create a systematic plan for
home maintenance and repair. If you know all that and never seem to
get to it put it on the schedule.
9. Be Ready to
abandon the list :
The Most important thing you do all day, all year , or even all lifetime,
may never appear on any to do list or show up on the day planner
. Never get so well organized and so scheduled that you stop being alert
to lifes possibilities the chance encounter, the sudden inspiration.
10. You Dont
have to make a list at all :
The to do list is a tool. Techniques for creating an effective
list are suggestion, not commandments. If they help, follow them adapting
and modifying for fit your own circumstance and inclinations, If they
dont help, make your own kind of list, or dont make any
list at all. You wont have failed time management. youll
have simply discovered something that helps some folks and not others
and which doesnt turn out to be help to you.