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I really like the budget analogy above - when money is tight, smart people budget, to ensure the important things get bought. When time is tight, you need to manage that too. I started todo-listing about eight months ago, and it has made a substantial improvement to how well I spend my time, and how much stress I feel. I get more stuff done, with less guilt about what I don't get done. I'm working full time, raising three kids with my partner who also works full time, and studying for a PhD part-time. That doesn't leave many hours in the day to play around with, so the ones I have I want to budget wisely. The most important thing (for me) with my list is that it tells me when I can feel satisfied that I've done enough for the day, and I can sit down and read a novel or watch some TV without guilt. A good todo list will allow you to set a date something needs to be done (which makes them similar to the "three things today" lists, except you can start planning tomorrow, the day after, etc.), and priority. It'll let you track priorities, and it'll let you track repeating events - a "vacuum the house" every four weeks means I get it done more often than I used to; a "remind Fred to do that thing" repeated daily means my projects are less likely to fall over because Fred doesn't consider them a priority. I've got 42 things on my lists, spread across the next 8 weeks or so. That's 42 things I no longer have to keep in short-term storage in my brain, freeing it up for other more important things, like actually doing all that stuff. If a to-do list is giving you stress, you're not doing it right.
Commented Oct 5, 2012 on
What do you need to do today? Other than read this blog entry, I mean. Have you ever noticed that a huge percentage of Lifehacker-like productivity porn site content is a breathless description of the details of Yet Another To-Do Application? There are dozens upon dozens of the things to choo...
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