A good friend, and colleague, of mine confessed the other week that he had only just started to use ‘to do’ lists. He was almost evangelical about the use of such a tool.
I thought that pretty much everyone uses a tool like this. I then thought about this for a bit longer, and I have met lots of different businesses that don’t capture all of the items in their working lives.
They may have a main system, such as MRP / ERP, but it’s the little things that trip them up. The promise they made to a customer, a report to print off for a senior manager, specific preparations for a meeting.... or whatever.
Being able to capture these items, process and prioritise them, and action them is a skill.
I have a feeling that a lot of people see just how much stuff is on their lists if they do compile one that they feel overwhelmed. Is discarding the list the same as ‘burying your head in the sand’? I think so.
If you have read my book ‘Office Productivity’ then you will know my views already on this subject. If you don’t use ‘to do’ lists and you feel overwhelmed about your workload then it may be worth (re)visiting the subject. Finding your own way to capture, purge, delegate and action your workload can make you more productive and certainly more effective.
Don’t fear the list – manage it differently.
Author of 'Business Process Re-Engineering', a practical plan to improve business performance.
P.S. And yes, capturing items can include business improvement ideas for actioning later on!