Lifehacker: 10 Unusual Ways to make your To Do List Work

Unless the first way is to hire someone else to do the other nine, I’m suspicious. But Lifehacker’s Melanie Pinola writes persuasively about methods of getting stuff down onto a list and then doing it. I don’t agree with them all but it’d be boring if I did. Here’s one unfair sample from her ten ways: she doesn’t claim it’s the best and I don’t think it’s representative of the rest but I just liked it as a dramatist:

Turn Your To-Do List into a Story

Visualise and map out your to-dos into a story, a narrative for your day. This storytelling technique can not only help motivate you to complete the tasks, it could boost your memory and help you make better sense of your days. There are other ways to visualise your to-do list that can prompt you to act more.

Top 10 Unusual Ways to Make Your To-Do List Actually Doable – Melanie Pinola, Lifehacker (22 Jun 2015).

Read the full piece.

How Warren Buffett prioritises his To Do list

If I haven’t said this to you before, let me say it now: I can’t stand systems for prioritising your work. The time you spend fiddling with your list is time you could spend doing the work. And the most fantastically well worked out priority list is torpedoed the next time anyone phones or emails you with a more urgent task.

But writer James Clear is well into priorities and says that investor Buffet is too:

With well over 50 billion dollars to his name, Warren Buffett is consistently ranked among the wealthiest people in the world. Out of all the investors in the 20th century, Buffett was the most successful.

Given his success, it stands to reason that Buffett has an excellent understanding of how to spend his time each day. From a monetary perspective, you could say that he manages his time better than anyone else.

And that’s why the story below, which was shared directly from Buffett’s employee to my good friend Scott Dinsmore, caught my attention.

Let’s talk about the simple 3-step productivity strategy that Warren Buffett uses to help his employees determine their priorities and actions

Warren Buffett’s “2 List” Strategy: How to Maximize Your Focus and Master Your Priorities — James Clear via Medium (27 October 2014)

I’d like you to read the full piece as Clear writes it well, but a small spoiler is that he recounts this tale of Buffet going through his three-step priority process. Go read it, though, and tell me that it’s really prioritising.

I think it’s getting stuff sorted out before you start. I don’t take away from this that I must study my To Do list’s priority rankings.

Priorities for people who disagree with me

I think sorting things into priority order is a way of prevarication and it’s a stupid way, too: the time you spend doing that, you could be doing the stuff. And when you’ve got your rinky-dinky perfectly-prioritised list done just so, something else will come up.

But I stand alone on this, or at least in very little company. And others make much more of the issue. Much more:

But most of the time we can simply choose to not be busy. Yes, this means less important things won’t get done, gasp! But… if they’re less important, who cares? This isn’t lazy, this is smart.

Problems with busyness arise when we feel like victims. “Gawd, if only I wasn’t so busy I would do xyz instead.” But, if it’s actually more important, why not do that instead. And if it’s not as important, stop stressing over not doing it!

Would you rather complete less important things and be busy and stressed all the time, or would you rather focus on what’s important, not caring for the unimportant, and having a more relaxing and less stressed life?

A Lack of Time is a Lack of Priorities – ALex Vermeer, (April 2013)

Read the full piece if you want to think about urgent versus important – which is a fair point – and not a gigantic amount else.