Where would we be without our ‘To Do’ lists? It never ceases to amaze me just how many business ‘gurus’ there are telling us how these things will make us so much more efficient and save us bucket loads of time. What’s more we’ve a tendency to believe them.
When I worked, I would meticulously complete my list at the weekend so that I was prepared for the coming week. By the end of Monday, I was exhausted and the dreaded ‘To Do’ list was untouched.
Each day I added to the list but rarely crossed anything off. By Friday it would be twice as long as when I started. I could never understand how, after a busy week at work, this magical list, that was supposed to make me more effective, had multiplied!
Recently I thought I’d found the answer when I read about ‘To Don’t’ lists. The idea is that you create a list of all the things that you needed to stop doing. This would in turn give you time to do the important things, ie. the things on your ‘To Do’ list.
The dilemma is, do you put a message on your ‘To Do’ list reminding you to create a ‘To Don’t’ list? Or should you be putting something on your ‘To Don’t’ list telling you to stop doing a ‘To Do’ list?
The solution – put them on both lists, knowing you will never find the time to complete either list anyway!
I once heard that a previous Bishop of York used to have a ‘Too Difficult’ file in his filing cabinet. Now that seems like a great idea. Any job or request for information or piece of paper that comes across your desk that you don’t immediately know what to do with – put it into your ‘Too Difficult File’.
If, by mistake, you put something in this file that is really important, someone will chase you for it – however, in reality, that rarely happens.
In conclusion, the best thing to do is put both your To Do List and your To Don’t List in your Too Difficult File and then go and have a quiet lie down in a darkened room.