Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Done List, Not To-do

I've probably been doing to-do lists for 60 years, off and on.  I get a spasm of will-power, a resolve to do better than I've done in the past, a desire to be better organized: result, a to-do list.  I write this because today's paper included a discussion of a new app for maintaining a to-do list.  I used to be an early adopter, picking up new technology and new software, but no more. No iPhones or iPads for this geezer, no modern apps.

My obsolescence doesn't make a difference; my to-do lists in the past have always petered out very quickly, like water draining into the sand. The number of jobs on the list was always too long, the life of my resolve was too short, and the result was disillusionment.

Two weeks is no basis to judge, but I just may have found an approach which works better for me: the done list.  Unfortunately I can't remember where I saw this suggested, but it's definitely not my idea.  What I've done is forget the list of projects, it's not important, I know well enough the things I'd like to get done. The "done list" is simply a log of days and notifications of what I've done.  My willpower extends (so far) to spending a little time doing something each day.  By recording what I've done I get some reinforcement.  It's the same psychology as the advice manuals on how to write: they say write something each day, every day.

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