Getting things done.

I was talking to a mate, Rags, who works in the film industry.  As most folk who work in film production are super organised, I was curious about how he kept and managed his jobs to do.  He told me:

“I don’t have a to do list.  I just do the things that need doing.”

loooove that!

How long is your “to do” list? Is it four pages or more? Is it in your head, typed up, or on scraps of paper?  How often do you tick things off?  Is it a burden or does it work well for you?  Is it never ending, or do you get through everything from time to time?


7 responses to “Getting things done.

  1. The only time I write a to do list is when I am taking a week or more off work, and sometimes not even then. If I do write that list, I add some fun activities also, and I don’t beat myself up if I don’t complete the entire list. In fact, I design it that way – add extras in case there is time, but its no big deal if they are not done.

    My “list” is mostly in my head. Sometimes I write stuff on the tv guide, or a calendar on the wall, both places where I look, and you can write things on the right dates where applicable – appointments, plans, etc. At work I use the Outlook calendar, for work and personal stuff. It pops up reminders, so again is “in your face.”

    I write on my hand sometimes – its a very short term list because it washes off, but it means I only need to carry a pen, and not paper.

    To do lists change, so a static list on paper doesnt work for me – it needs to be rewritten as some things get crossed off and others don’t, and things get added on subsequent pages. A to do list is never ending, in my opinion. If you have nothing at all to do, there is something wrong.

    But there is still the satisfaction of completing a nagging problem or job to keep you going. Something you meant to get around to weeks ago, and finally do, or organise to get done by someone else. Something that takes five minutes when you expected it to take an hour.

  2. Thanks Kim… I love that you are flexible with your list and that you don’t beat yourself up if things aren’t done. I reckon getting SOMETHING done is a good thing! We can’t always achieve getting everything done that we’d like.

  3. I always have a to do list. It saves me from forgetting something I need to do.
    I normally write it up in the evening for the next day’s jobs.
    First I write what I have to do and then things I would like to get done. I find it satisfying to cross off items as I go through the day. Having a list has often saved me from forgetting to call someone or buy something I need. This is helpful for those things that are rare and not part of your regularly weekly schedule.

  4. Lissanne,

    I stumbled upon an organising method called ‘Autofocus’ by Mark Forster? I found it via one of your links a few years ago. The original version of Autofocus was like a to-do list that is in a constant state of flux. If you want to work on something for a short while but still not complete it, you merely do so, get the pleasure of crossing it off your list and then re-enter it at the end of the list.

    It’s so satisfying to cross something off and it rewards your attempts at a task, even if you didn’t actually complete it.

    There are a few other things about his simple system that are sweet – one is that you don’t prioritise or sort out tasks in a particular way, but by reading through the list in a particular way you instinctively know that it feels right to do a particular task. That feeling could be because of desire, urgency or importance – doesn’t matter which, it just matters that you do the task.

    Here’s a link to a detailed explanation:

    Frankly, I think recent revisions by Mark have over-complicated a system that was brilliantly simple. It was a to-do list with tweaks, now it’s a complex system. Just try the original!


  5. I don’t know if this might be helpful for other readers, however I like to call my “To Do List” an “Action List” instead.

    I write “Action List” across the top, then list the items underneath.

    For me, a “To Do” item somehow seems to get relegated to low priority, something that can be put off, however my “Action” items get done much faster!

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