Todo lists

Todo lists are a surprisingly effective tool that are often undervalued (especially by young folk like myself). Those of you that know me well (especially those of you that knew me in college) know that I’m somewhat overly concerned with efficiency. I often strive to find ways to squeeze out just a little more throughput in my work day. One of the simplest tools for this is a simple todo list. I know that right now half of you are saying, “Yeah, of course…”, and the other half of you are rolling your eyes thinking about how useless this blog post is. I’m writing this post for the latter group (so please roll yours eyes back into position and continue reading)…

Those of you that haven’t actually tried todo lists are probably thinking the same things I used to think about them:

  • I don’t need to write it out…I know what I need to do
  • How does writing it down make me more efficient…doesn’t it take longer because you have to make the list as well?
  • What extra value does this list really create?

However writing out your daily list has many benefits that are often under appreciated. Here is just a sample:

  • Writing out your list forces you to think through (at least at a high level) all of your tasks
  • Often it forces you to come up with at least some type of rough prioritization of your tasks
  • Allows you to free your memory for other, more important, stuff
  • Keeps you moving rapidly as you never have to stop and think of what’s next to do…this allows you to stay in the zone when you get there
  • Allows for a strange sense of satisfaction when you cross items off the list…it’s weird just how satisfying this can be

If you don’t already keep a todo list for yourself I would strongly encourage you to give it a try. It might just surprise you how much more productive you can be with such a simple tool.

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