The to-do list has been a knowledge worker staple for ages. Almost everyone has a version of one in their smart phone or paper planner. Despite their usefulness, many people have a strong aversion to using their to-do list to its fullest capacity. These people often seem to live in a limbo state between maintaining some items on the list while also trying to remember other items only in their head.
David Allen understands the challenges of doing the to-do list right. He had a lot to say on this topic in a recent blog post.
“I understand the resistance to to-do lists, and the complaints about keeping them. I’ve noticed a couple of reasons for this. The main one is that most to-do lists are incomplete lists of still un-clarified “stuff.” Looking at them creates as much stress as they might have relieved in the first place. Typically, what people have on their lists (if they have them at all) are things like “Mom,” and “bank,” and “marketing VP.” It’s great that they have captured something that has their attention, but there are still critical decisions to make with some critical thinking about that content.”
Read the rest of the blog post at the Getting Things Done web site.