There really isn’t any “magic” to a to-do list, but there is definitely power in a to-do list when it is used properly. Epipheo.tv put out another of their short videos yesterday and I believe that it illustrated this very well. It’s called “How To Hack Your To-Do List” and features David Allen, the author of Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.
It turns out that how I use my to-do lists comes up just a little bit short when you look at the criteria that David Allen describes. In my to-do lists, I list the items I need to accomplish and I clarify them so that I understand exactly what doing them entails. The part where I fall down is that I don’t park items on the list. Parking items on the list means that you trust that your list has everything you need to know, so you don’t waste effort trying to remember everything you need to do. Instead you would rely on the list. That frees your brain up from trying to remind you to do tasks constantly and lets it be at peace. With your brain at peace, you would be freeing up that previously wasted brain power and allowing yourself to be both more focused and creative.
I can definitely see the benefit in both of those areas and I know that I would benefit from more focused time than I have today. It’s time for me to try to give myself over to my to-do lists, so that I can get more things done.