Opinion

How to stop to-do lists ruining your life

This science article in The Guardian argues that in this age of beeping smartphones and information overload, to-do lists have never been more important.

Included are perspectives from neuroscientist Daniel J Levitin, Mount Saint Vincent University Professor Michelle Eskritt, University of Salford Professor Andy Miah, and New York University Professor of Psychology Peter Gollwitzer. Related research by these contributors includes Eskritt & Ma (2014) Intentional forgetting: Note-taking as a naturalistic example and Oettingen et al. (2015) Self-regulation of time management: Mental contrasting with implementation intentions.

The Guardian article concludes with a list to help people master their other to-do lists:

  1. Streamline your day-to-day tasks
  2. Don’t load your list with unachievable assignments
  3. Don’t use your to-do list as a memory aid
  4. Consider grouping your to-do lists by deadline
  5. Then pare down your “now” list
  6. Don’t keep your to-do list in your smart phone
  7. Or try an even more low-tech approach

Bruce Boyes

Bruce Boyes (www.bruceboyes.info) is editor, lead writer, and a director of the award-winning RealKM Magazine (www.realkm.com) and currently also teaches in the University of NSW (UNSW) Foundation Studies program in China. He has expertise and experience in a wide range of areas including knowledge management (KM), environmental management, program and project management, writing and editing, stakeholder engagement, communications, and research. Bruce holds a Master of Environmental Management with Distinction and a Certificate of Technology (Electronics). With a demonstrated ability to identify and implement innovative solutions to social and ecological complexity, Bruce's many career highlights include establishing RealKM Magazine as an award-winning resource for knowledge managers, using agile and knowledge management approaches to oversee the implementation of an award-winning $77.4 million river recovery program in western Sydney on time and under budget, leading a knowledge strategy process for Australia's 56 natural resource management (NRM) regional organisations, pioneering collaborative learning and governance approaches to support communities to sustainably manage landscapes and catchments, and initiating and teaching two new knowledge management subjects at Shanxi University in China.

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