Time Management To-Do List - Do you run the list or does the list run you?

There’s nothing 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. Lakein’s 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 lakein’s 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, let’s look as a sample to – do list, one that makes just about every possible mistake.


10 Suggestions for creating a Healthy TO – DO List


1. Don’t 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, you’ll spend the day running late, running scared just flat – out running to catch up. You won’t 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. You‘re listing those tasks that you hope, want, and yes need to finish during the day. You’re not creating a blueprint for the rest of the universe, and your plans don’t have the force of natural law. What happened if you don’t 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.


4. Don’t 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. Don’t 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 it‘s the top priority on your list. If it isn’t schedule it for later in the day. Don’t do it first simply because it’s there, demanding attention, or because it’s relatively easy, or because you’ve 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 you’re 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 – it’s too late to do us any good. If you don’t put rest on the list, you won’t do it. So put it on the list .And doesn’t 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 life’s possibilities the chance encounter, the sudden inspiration.


10. You Don’t 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 don’t help, make your own kind of list, or don’t make any list at all. You won’t have failed time management.’ you’ll have simply discovered something that helps some folks and not others and which doesn’t turn out to be help to you.

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