Picture yourself entering a supermarket, with a to-do-list. In a mechanical way you hit the rows and grab the items that are on the list. On your way out you think quickly whether you have left something out, but you can think of anything…
Organizing is often about things that need to be done. It is about planning, setting priorities and an instrument like a to-do-list is a way to achieve this. The to-do-list reminds you of your priorities, it is a silent secretary showing you the way to your next appointment. A to-do-list has a positive focus. You drag important items to this list because they enable to achieve your goal.
So far so good. But there is more, for example when you ask the question; “why do I need such a list, could I do without? And what would I need instead? Apparently there are other items – not on the to-do-list – which distracts you and make that you do not achieve your goal.
Amongst these Not-to-Do items are those nasty habits that lead you nowhere. Perhaps you remember an issue or two that you would write on such a list if there was one. The thing I would put on the list – and check once I arrive at the supermarket – is to take it easy. Think about the meal to prepare and what you need. And above all, what do I tend to forget again and again.
First of all it does train-my-brain and secondly I become more confident. Confident that whatever I’m planning or preparing, I will deliver for the simple reason that I’m concentrated on the job. I no longer need the to-do-list, just a simple note to remind me to focus on no to rush, or to … whatever is on the not-to-do list.
© 2007 Hans Bool
Hans Bool writes articles about management, culture and change. If you are interested to read or experience more about these topics have a look at: Astor White or sign-up for our newsletter .