If you want it done, it must be scheduled. If it’s not scheduled, it’s just another item on your wishlist that will never be completed.
— Time To Kill Your Todo List by CJ Chilvers
Words by CJ Chilvers that for a few minutes had me questioning my own todo list's life expectancy. CJ’s words make sense but what he is advocating isn’t killing your todo list. Well maybe he is but I see it in a different way.
You see the todo list isn’t the problem. The problem my friend is you.
If you’re using your todo list in the most effective way possible then you'll be doing two things:
- Continually reviewing your todo list
- Syncing your todo list to your calendar
Rather than thinking of your todo list as just a list of things to do, think if it as more than a list. It's a capturing point, a staging area, a place where things go before they are scheduled to be done.
Your todo list items should only be in this staging area for a short time until a window of opportunity opens up in your calendar. Then you can schedule the item at the most appropriate time.
As with most processes, it’s not the tools that are to blame, it’s how you use those tools.
I do a weekly review to ensure that I don’t have anything in my todo list that is stagnating. If it’s been there for a while, I delete it or schedule it for the most convenient time possible. That way it gets done.
My todo list is also linked to my calendar so that when I give a todo item a date and time it appears in my calendar.
My todo list isn’t just a list of things to do, it’s a capturing point, a place to review and a log of just about everything I have done. It’s more than just a list. It's an essential part of my workflow.
The easiest way to get your head round this is to work from your calendar rather than your todo list. Your todo list just tells you what to do. The calendar tells you what to do and when to do it.