Manage Only One List Where Possible

Something that I have seen a lot of over the last three months is people trying to juggle numerous lists:

  • To do lists.
  • Action lists.
  • Continuous Improvement lists.
  • Project lists.
  • Issues lists.

...split down by months and / or by working areas in the business.

Most of these lists are held in spreadsheet format (such as Excel) and it begs the following question:

Can you gain more benefit by consolidating the lists and simplifying the management of this one list?

I like lists, but I also recognise the problems that arise when you have too many of them floating around.

If you suffer from having too many lists, and aren't making progress with your actions, then it might be worth considering pulling all of the lists together to create a 'mega list'.

It may look a little daunting having one big list, but by creating some proper categories (i.e. an extra column with a limited number of options entered) and using the 'autofilter' option (usually found in Excel on the home tab 'ribbon' under Editing -> Sort & Filter -> Filter, or see this page from Microsoft).

By doing this, and perhaps being a little creative in terms of using your filters, you can turn your big list into a small, manageable, working list. This small list can then give you the focus to use your time well and make significant progress.

If you have too many 'things' to juggle, and numerous lists floating around your business (or worse, your head!) then it might be time to consider creating a big spreadsheet and learning to create proper categories and use the autofilter option.

Let me know how you get on.

Giles Johnston
...fixing MRP systems and re-engineering business processes