In Pursuit of Building TODO Lists

There is just something about lists. Every second software developer and vendor has an app for doing just that - todo lists. And Life Hacker seems to be obsessed about listing the latest todo list managers.

Why is everybody else also obsessed with todo lists? Is it because we think everything is important enough to do?

Arguments from some camps cite that the mere fact that you are building lists of things to do, indicates that you have no idea which items are priority. Ironically, they dispense the advice that you should build a list of three things that you should accomplish in the year, the month, the week, and the day.

Yet there is sanity with the above abstraction. Just make sure that those list items are S.M.A.R.T.

Work harder! No, smarter

As for all the other items which makes onto those todo lists - if they do not support or help achieve the goal, maybe consider dropping those items. Scott Hanselman has a great presentation titled It’s not what you read, it’s what you ignore. (If you cannot watch the video, here is a text transcription). I really enjoyed the way he put it:

The less that you do, the more of it that you can do. This is the standard law of scale.

For the techie, I really think you should watch his presentation.

I have recently found that I was simply running out of time and not giving what mattered most the attention, energy, and effort that the important items deserves. If everything is important, nothing really matters. Saying no to the unnecessary things says yes to the important things.

Photo credit: Judith Klein

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