Saturday, February 18, 2012

No More To Do Lists

I am living without To Do Lists.

Why? How? Say, What?

Those are some of the reactions I've had when I've told folks that I've tossed the To Do List.

Well, Why:

To Do Lists were adding to my general anxiety level. I couldn't turn off the mental To Do List, and I was obsessively keeping lists that were getting ridiculously long. So - if you have a simple and under-control To Do List, you probably don't need to chuck it. But mine was not a simple tool, but rather coming close to an obsession.


1. Routines. If you always empty out your inbox on Tuesdays, you don't have to put it on a list to remember to do it.

2. Do It Now. If you have something come up, just do it now so you don't have to put it on a list to do later. Answer that email now, make that phone call right away, etc.

3. Stage. Want to return that book to the library? Set it by the front door. Same with drycleaning, etc.

4. Send yourself a memo. So sometimes you can't do it right away. Rather than making a list (that I keep thinking about), I'm sending myself memos. An email, a post-it note where I will see it, or even a voice mail to myself. Once the memo is sent off, I stop thinking about it until I get to the routine time of going through my email/voicemail, or I encounter that post-it note to myself.

Say, What?

I'm not a radical anti-list activist. I still have lists: grocery lists, invitation lists, birthday lists. But I'm finding that the To Do List is not an essential tool. In fact, I was worried that I would start forgetting to do things, become sloppy, and unreliable. It hasn't really happened yet. I think I'm just as organized and efficient as before, or maybe even a bit better. And I'm doing it without a list. So when I'm done, I'm done. I'm not thinking about that list all the time.

1 comment:

  1. That is exactly what I've done. And it seems to me that most of the URGENT to-do stuff wasn't so urgent after all. Good for you. Your nerves will thank you. :o)