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Why Lists are STILL Relevant

Every Monday morning, I make a list.  Whether mental or written, my list helps me reflect on and organize the week’s priorities, tasks and activities.  In his best-selling book, “Getting Things Done”, productivity guru David Allen calls this process a Weekly Review.    He suggests we take at least 60 minutes each week to examine our commitments.  The idea, Allen says, “. . . is to put yourself in the driver’s seat”, rather than be led by your commitments.

I have practiced this habit for more than 10 years.

If I forget to make the list, my week is far less productive.  Usually by mid-week, I realize I accomplished some things, but not those that would have given me the most bang for my time.  In other words, the tasks I unintentionally choose are less impactful than those I must complete to reach my overall goals.  Of course, you know months are made up of weeks and years are made up of months.  So these misdirected “accomplishments” could potentially derail my entire month or year, if indulged for long.

When that unwelcomed mid-week realization emerges, I immediately pull out the 4-subject, spiral bound notebook I use to record my activities, meeting notes and to-dos and draft the list.

If you have never used lists to help organize your workday – or perhaps, in the age of smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices, you believe lists are dinosaurs – it may be time re-consider.

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