Time management and to-do lists

I confess, I am a to-do list addict. At the start of each day, I optimistically list everything I need to do and then I’m generally disappointed to get to the end of the day to find that not only have I only achieved about half of what I had planned but that I’ve accumulated several new items as well. I then add everything undone for that day on the next day’s list and so it feels like my to-do list is never-ending.

What to do then, work harder or give up the lists altogether? I was delighted to read these simple suggestions on to-do lists in This Column Will Change Your Life by Oliver Burkeman in the Guardian on Saturday. I am hopeful that they will finally enable me to get the lists under control…

  • Keep two lists a "master list", which you should never expect to
    "finish", and a daily list, created by selecting tasks from the master
  • When making the daily list, pick the three or four most important things, and
    really commit to doing them, even if you think they’ll take you only a
    couple of hours.
  • The daily list should be a "closed list": new work floods in
    constantly, but don’t add it to the current day’s list unless it’s an
    emergency: keep that list "closed" and add the incoming items to the
    master list.

Happily my favourite activity – adding tasks you’ve already completed for the joy of ticking them off – is allowed!

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