Too easily, we can feel drawn to some next email or idea calling for our attention. We may justify going off to it by saying,

  • It should only take a moment,
  • I’ll come back to this later
  • and more.

Meanwhile, we can easily forget what we were just doing or intending upon doing, especially when that something is anxiety provoking.

It is useful to write down what we want to do. That way, better distance ourselves from impulse. Hopefully, we can then make better decisions as to what is actually important and meaningful to do.

However, after we’ve written down several ideas of what we’d like to do, that list may become long. Or without a certain care, the items on the list may not be well defined. At that point, what we’ve written down no longer supports us. Instead, we create a new burden upon our already beleaguered mind. Looking at the now overwhelming list, we begin to skim it asking,

“Do I really want or need to do this now?”

scanning for what’s simultaneously easiest, shortest, and most important. When we get to the bottom of the list, we might repeat the process or get fed up and again wander elsewhere.

It is remarkable after writing a few tasks, we are helped. But after writing only a few more, we are again burdened.

In this way, when creating your lists, such as a Today list, a Hot list, a Communications list, or anything similar, recognize that they have a window of utility.

Consider applying principles of a completable list when crafting your lists. Realize that they take care.

For fuller descriptions of building optimal lists consider: