ToDo Lists Don’t Work

Or they don’t for me at least! My ToDo list is a bit like the laundry basket – we never quite get to the bottom :-(

It’s a combination of things:

* Over ambitious expectations of myself – I’m not as diligent as I make out.
* Events – as Macmillan said about politics “events change plans”.
* Procrastination – there are days when I’d just rather not do certain things.
* Interruptions – are great excuses
* No context – writing something on a list is only a piece of the picture, context explains the “why”.

Email is just as bad. Messages pour in all day. In one way they’re great interruptions, but also a pain in the rear.

I try to Star them so as not to forget to handle something when I’ve finished what I’m doing. But if they drop out of the top half of the Inbox they’ve had it. Every so often I’ll call up my Star items only to find a dozen things I’d meant to do last week, but never did.

The fact I’m inclined to admit my failure to live up to standards I set shows at least a partial recognition of my failings – a sort of self flagellation.

But the bottom line is the ToDo list is entirely the wrong way to organize and schedule, because things we don’t do eventually go away. They don’t come back and stare us in the face everyday, forcing us to revise the plan, or forget the thing, or perhaps even get it done.

Most of all ToDo items don’t arrive in a package, with an explanation of the context (how it fits in with everything else) and the information we need – correspondence, documents, notes – so we don’t have to spend more time remembering why we listed them in the first place.

Actions in Front Office Box are different. They’re assigned to a person, scheduled for a day/time, presented with easy access to our Relationships and Plans, and associated information. And if we don’t mark them as complete they’ll be there, staring us in the face, tomorrow, and the next day.

October 22nd, 2009 – Posted in Management Built In  |  Add a Comment Management Built In. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site. –>

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One Response to ToDo Lists Don’t Work

  1. Pingback: Part 3 Vision & Photography – BBC Explorations | Digital Photography

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