The Guru of Lists and how to make them work for you.

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To start, I am NOT the guru of lists! Now that we have that straight, I want to share some great pointers from the To-Do List Master himself, David Allen. He recently shared his thoughts on why lists are so important in getting things done, and keeping organized…

So, to change your relationship with “lists” to a more positive one:

1) Make them complete, so your brain gets to graduate from the job of remembering; and organize your action reminders by context (phone, computer, errands, at home, etc.) so you only need to review what you actually can do at the time.

2) Make sure every actionable item has the very next visible physical action identified along with it, so you don’t freak out about unknown territory between here and there.

3) Only put items that cannot be done any other day on your calendar, and everything else hold in “as soon as I can get to them” lists.

I suppose “love your lists” could be a little too radical an admonition for some of you. But how about at least “be good friends” with them?


When I look at my lists, I currently have 41 lists in Remember the Milk. How do I keep track of them all? 1) I do a weekly review. 2) I group my lists into areas of focus. Work and Personal projects are an example. Once you add together all your existing projects, and contexts(@phone, @computer, Grocery Store, etc…), 41 lists is not that much…Each of my projects is it’s own list. The tasks within the projects have been tagged with a Next Action context, maybe a location, so it is wrong to think that I have 41 unrelated lists. They are all intertwined.

How do you use lists to get more done?


One Reply to “The Guru of Lists and how to make them work for you.”

  1. I love lists..I write lists all the time and then completely forget about it! LOL!
    What I love most about lists is that act of marking a tick next to it, meaning it’s done!!

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