In praise of the to-do list

There are lots of people at work who laugh at my obsession with having a to-do list but I wouldn’t be without it. I know there are lots of ways of keeping key bits of information together and I am sure there are many computer systems that can assist. But I still like to have a little book where I can keep a list of what I have to do each day.

Why do I do it? Life moves incredibly quickly and at work I never really know what is going to happen. I have a plan in my head of what the day will hold but it never really goes according to that plan as events can take over. To be able to refer to a list of actions for the day just keeps me on track particularly when I have been a little derailed by events.

There is also a huge sense of achievement when I can see in physical form that I have completed the item on the list. I can cross it out or tick it off which makes me feel good and show me that I am making progress. I don’t add things to the list just so that I can tick them off, but I do ensure there is a mix of short and slightly longer term tasks that I need to complete.

Above all having a list provides me with some clarity and means I can keep focused on what I need to undertake during the day. I am known to develop lists outside of work as well. These can help me to make sure I get the most from my weekend and have undertaken all the tasks that I need to.

I believe too few people ensure that they have a clear list of tasks and priorities to assist them during the working day. It means things can get lost as people try to understand what they have to do. Tasks can slip between the gaps in knowledge. I really recommend having some form of to-do list to provide clarity, focus and help with your sense of achievement.


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1 Response to In praise of the to-do list

  1. I totally agree. I always have a running to-do list and a schedule open whenever I’m working. It helps me stay on track and prioritise properly though only – perhaps strangely given how digital everything nowadays – when it’s as a hard copy.


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