By: Brian Maher, Vice President, Career Services
I am a huge fan of making to do lists. Without lists I am lost.
The advent of the technology age has made lists almost a lost art. For example I have always been a fan of writing my list down on paper and crossing each item off as I complete them, but as my job responsibilities have changed and technology has changed I have had to adapt as well. I now travel with only an iPhone in many cases and so I have had to stop writing my lists down and instead input them into my iPhone. I am less than happy about that.
As we grow busier and busier between work, family, and life in general, it becomes more and more difficult to keep track of all that we do or need to do. Lists provide us with a road map of reminders of our tasks and priorities. They also provide us with a great sense of accomplishment when we can either cross an item off or delete an item from our list of tasks.
Lists are not intended to include long-term strategic goals or plans. I never use my lists that way. My list is comprised of action items I need to complete. A reminder to email a certain document to someone or to sign a contract. I keep them simple. An item that has been on your list of tasks for too long can become depressing, which defeats the purpose of the list, which is to get things done and to feel better that you have accomplished so much.
I maintain two lists. A work list and a personal list of tasks. I make them specific and do not include items that are weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annual in nature. For example: “take out the garbage”. Not a good item to have on your list because it will never come off because you must always take out the garbage. “Paint the deck “is a good one or “get quotes for driveway paving”. We like to think we’ll remember to do these things, but the truth is we won’t. We’re too busy.
Now, if any of you out there have some better suggestions than my Notes feature on my iPhone I’m all ears because I really don’t like using Notes.