Why is there so much loathing and hatred for to-do lists? Characters in movies and books are mocked for making lists and many a hero’s journey involves getting rid of her (it’s usually a her) to-do list. Once the character learns to live life without the heinous list she (again, usually a female) really learns to live. For a to-do list has been the culprit holding her back in life and making life unenjoyable. Really?
I think people are overlooking one little thing. The to-do list is merely an organization tool to get tasks done. Getting rid of the list does not eliminate the actual to-dos. It only gets rid of the reminder to get tasks done. Kudos if you can navigate your day without any prompts or reminders. Some of us, however, need such lists to help me prioritize my day. Without them I feel overwhelmed and swamped. Or I might focus too much time and energy on unimportant details.
It’s fine if you want to live life without the list. Just keep in mind, getting rid of the list doesn’t get rid of tasks or responsibilities. The true guilty party in all this is actually our time management skills. Learn to say no from time to time. Saying no will shorten or eliminate your list completely. But wait, characters who say no too much in books and movies also need to have a journey. They need to learn to say yes so that they can live a more full life. But a yes person is a busy person. A busy person will need to organize her time. A to-do list is a tool of organization.
You see, there is no winning here.
2 thoughts on “In the defense of to-do lists”
Good point about saying yes and keeping busy.