Not To Do Lists

We become consumed with tasks rather than results, inputs rather than outputs, in our personal lives and our client work. People talk about (shudder) “a training” rather than an improvement.

One of the invidious contributors to this dysfunctional phenomenon is the “to do list.” In most meetings, that means the “agenda” on the easel sheet migrates to a new easel sheet with the same list by the end of the meeting. On a personal basis, these lists exist from day to day, with constant additions, a conurbation of items that become overwhelming, clogging the arteries and jamming traffic.

Stop making lists. (“Bucket lists” are the worst, since they imply failure if you decide not to  climb Mt. Kilimanjaro or learn to walk a high wire.) Focus on two priority results for every day, professional and/or personal, and achieve them, no matter what. Keep them realistic: You don’t sit down to write a book, but you an sit down to write a portion of chapter one. That’s real progress.

“To do” lists undermine “to achieve” mentalities. After all, even Santa Claus only has two lists, naughty and nice, and he gets a hell of a lot done overnight.

© Alan Weiss 2015


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