Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I am a self-confessed list-maker. In fact, I think I invented list-making. So I was mildly amused by Oliver Burkeman’s “This Will Change Your Life” column in last Saturday’s Guardian: “I am astonished afresh each time I’m reminded that there are people who don’t use to-do lists. They get up, do things all day, then go to bed. At no point in this process do they cross off tasks in a notebook, fill in timetables with coloured felt-tip pens or organise complex systems of Post-its. They just do things”.
In my architectural days, I reckon that over 90% of my time was spent being proactive and, to this end, lists were critically important. These days, it’s completely the reverse – I’m probably spending 90% of my time being reactive - but I still compile my things-to-do-today lists as the first task each morning.
Mind you, I think I missed a trick when I first started making lists. I almost certainly invented the “tick-box” (see image!) which I use for all my lists and regret never having patenting it (another case of "it's too late now"!). Crucially, you don’t actually tick the box, you have to insert a cross once you’ve completed a task (in fact, I have a number of other “codes” representing half-completed jobs or jobs that I need to prioritise!!).
The wonderful thing is that our three daughters are all list-makers too (to a greater or lesser extent!) and, whisper it, one of them even uses the “crossed box” model of her old man!
Bless her/them!
Image: “to-do-list” selected at random from my filofax (note to self: why have you still got a “to-do-list” dated 23 June in your filofax?!).


Alice said...

Do you know what to-do list I began the other day?


Although I must say I need to absolutely cross every word out once the task is done... the boxes are still there though!

Love you dad!

blue hands said...

Could the reason it's still there be that there are still some uncompleted tasks on it? Or do all the uncompleted things get transferred to the next day?

bigdaddystevieB said...

they transferred to the next day (of course!).

just Gai said...

I'm not a daily list maker but I do have two important lists, both on computer. The first is my Christmas card list, which once grew longer but is now growing shorter (for environmental reasons I hasten to add, lest you think I'm a Billy No Mates!), and the second is my holiday packing list. I couldn't get through Christmas or on holiday without them.