Make Volume 05: Science
Another quarter, another sexy-ass issue of O'Reilly's Make Magazine. And that means another Life Hacks column from Danny and me. (Amazon.com link)
This time around, I laced-up for a knockdown, drag-out, one round intro to "Building a Smarter To-do List." The two posts from which it was inspired are still two of the most popular items on 43F.
While you can argue for the flavor and approach to task management that best suits your style, it's hard to disparage the benefits that come from getting task commitments out of your brain and captured in a consistent location. The Life Hacks research showed that most all of the alpha geeks had a "
todo.txt" sitting in their home directory -- often comprising thousands of items covering every aspect of the geek's life, both past and future. In this case, we're focusing more on the to-do list as tactical game plan; until you get really good at this stuff, try thinking of your to-do list as the evolving strategy for focusing your effort and attention in the immediate future.
If you're saving your pennies, or liked the column and would like to learn more, you might want to cruise back through the original posts from last September. I still really like how they turned out --- and I actually do re-read them myself when I'm having trouble getting my stuff together. Yes, I'm actually that unproductive; I have to look to myself for advice. Pathetic, really.
Anyway, reintroduced here, "The Smarter To-do List":
Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part I | 43 Folders
The primary idea of a to-do is that it’s a task that can and should be done–a point that might seem obvious until you start uncovering how many of the items on your to-do list may not belong there (or, conversely, how many uncaptured items do). The best and most useful to-dos share common qualities:
- it’s a physical action
- it can be accomplished at a sitting
- it supports valuable progress toward a recognized goal
- it’s something for which you are the most appropriate person for the job
Building a Smarter To-Do List, Part II | 43 Folders
Look at each addition to your to-do list as a personal commitment to completing that action. Bear in mind that every minute you spend working on one task is necessarily a minute you cannot spend working on another. So ensure that your to-do list honors these reasonable limits and keeps you focused on the work that’s most valuable to you.
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