Learn the key ideas of the book by Damon Zahariades

To-Do List Formula

Learn to use to-do lists for an effective organization

Making to-do lists is one of the simplest ways to organise work and personal commitments, but as the “to do list” method explains, its simplicity does not automatically make it easy to put into practice. While drafting our lists we can make many mistakes that render them useless, even harmful. Furthermore, there is more than one way to make a list and learning which method works best for you and your needs is the first step to gaining control of a management system that really works.

To-Do List Formula
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Without deadlines we are destined to become inactive

The to-do list is probably one of the simplest work organisation tools of all, and if it is used well, it can be very effective. Unfortunately, due to its simplicity, it is often used without careful attention, and risks creating more problems than it solves. Let’s look at the most common mistakes that often transform a to-do list into a hindrance.

The first problem is that we often make lists without setting deadlines, in doing so we simply make a list that is not very useful: deadlines are an important component to help us manage priorities in the right way, and to avoid putting things off. Let’s face it, most of us tend to postpone things that we don’t like doing, the lack of a deadline takes away the impulse to get a task done.

The second thing that can damage the to-do list is its length. In this case there are two negative effects: first of all, endless lists distract our attention instead of helping us focus. Especially if you are not good at prioritizing, you risk losing sight of important things that are “lost” amongst the many other activities. In addition, long lists are demotivating: putting too many things on our list is unrealistic and leads to discouragement. By failing to complete the tasks we set day after day, we begin to accept our inability to finish them and worsen our tendency to procrastinate.


The key ideas of "To-Do List Formula"

Without deadlines we are destined to become inactive
Two obstacles to avoid: mixing activities and creating alternatives
Why do I have to do it? The purpose of a goal
The basic rule for a to-do list that works
A few types of list: choose your favourite formula
A special board, the Kanban
The matrix system
GTD: the Getting Things Done method by David Allen
How to create the perfect to-do list
System maintenance
Take-home message

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