Monday, April 20, 2009
The To-Do List
Once upon a time, about 20 years ago, I had a friend introduce me to the "to do list". Now, let it be said that to do lists are generally a good thing. When kept in balance with the rest of one's life, they increase productivity and help get your back end moving when you feel like you just can't do anything.
Anyway, I was coming out of a depression and couldn't seem to motivate myself to do anything at all. So my friend said, "This evening, write down 5 things to do tomorrow. They can be as simple as 'get dressed'. Then, as you complete the items, cross them off. It will make you feel better." And she was right. I started small and gradually got to the point where my to-do list was a vital part of my evening ritual.
And then came Franklin-Covey...
Franklin-Covey is the to-do list on steroids. It is a brilliant instrument of time management. It is amazing how many things you can get done in a day by listing and prioritizing things. My to do list grew from 5 items to about 25 items. And some days I add more things to the list than I take off. No one ever warned me about the to do list and how it can take over.
As imaged by Franklin-Covey, the to-do list does not assist your life, it rules it. The list directs how you will live, when you will eat, how long you will sleep. Everything goes on the list. It also demands that you carry a heavy binder everywhere you go. But don't worry, it all changed again...enter the Palm Pilot.
I have one of these now (I know, I am only about 8 years behind the curve). I like it (probably because I am devoted to gadgets). It is more convenient than the big binder, and I can still prioritize my to do list. It beeps at me when something is due. It reminds me to do things like LOOK at my to do list. But, somehow it seems to take so much more time to enter everything into the to do list. I feel like (and maybe this is just because I am still getting used to it) I spend half my time attending to the list, thereby cutting into the time I have to attend to the item I am putting on the list.
This could take some getting used to. I sometimes wonder if I shouldn't go back to paper and pen and 5 important things. But, this will save a lot of trees in the end and the reality is that I have become so dependent on my to do list, that shrinking it, would cause problems. And with all the things I have been forgetting to do recently, writing things down is essential.
So palm pilot it is...that is until I get a snazzier cell phone.