Thursday, August 25, 2016

Emily tries but misunderstands, ah ooh (Pink Floyd)

Dear Emily*

Yes - this is an open letter to you, Emily. Even though you won't read it 
(unless I send you a link that is) because 'reading my blog' is not a priority in your life. 

Therefore, Emily, I feel the need to perform an intervention.

Emily, you have a problem and I want to help you out. Your slavish addiction to 'to-do' lists has me concerned.

Hence this intervention via the open letter.

Let me be clear: To-Do Lists Are Not the Answer to Getting Things Done!

We have argued about this vehemently over the last week and I feel that your sad devotion to that ancient religion has not helped you conjure up the stolen data tapes, or given you clairvoyance enough to find the rebels' hidden fort.

Why do I maintain this stance, Emily? I shall tell you! And, b.t.w., I acknowledge the help of Shane Parrish and Cal Newport in the construction of this argument.

To-do lists are a terrible daily planning tool. They are missing two key pieces of information:
  • How long each task requires.
  • How much and where your free time is available for the day.
Without these two facts, you are stumbling blindly, hoping your random decisions of what to do (or not do) at a given moment will lead to an efficient schedule. Here’s the thing, Em: it won’t. 

To-do lists make it easy and that's a bad thing. They make it easy because it’s so simple to add things, and so these lists tend to grow and grow.  

To-do lists are a form of procrastination. Oh, yes they are! Rather than 'just do it' and act fast, to-do lists slow you down! Instead of action you are making a list of things to do in the future! Tut tut!

The solution to the to-do list problem is actually pretty simple. You have to make one change: schedule it! That’s how the most successful people use lists … under a specific time block.

When you schedule things, you are forced to deal with the fact that there are only so many hours in a week. You’re forced to make choices rather than add something to a never ending to-do list that only becomes a source of anxiety. And you can’t just schedule important work and creative stuff. You need to schedule time for rest and recovery and mundane things like email.

So...ditch the pen and paper, open up your calendar on your phone and block time.

Your other option, Emily, is to adopt the 'touch it only once' policy. Avoid procrastination! It is the thief of time!! Work smarter, not harder.

Here endeth the lesson (you'll thank me one day)

Fondest regards, love and peace - Wozza

*Name changed to fit the Pink Floyd song and to protect the innocent, which is ironic as her real name is, actually, Emily!


A lady who's sure said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A lady who's sure said...

Dear Thracian gladiator,
'Schedule' as defined by the English (Cambridge) dictionary;

a list of planned activities or things to be done

Does this sound like a 'To Do List' - your thoughts??

PS. Mathematics is a singular noun (eg. you would say mathematics is... and not mathematics are...) similar to Physics. Math (not maths) is an abbreviation of mathematics just as one would say Eco (not Ecos) is an abbreviation of Economics (if one was an Economics teacher). One could also query that an English teacher would know more about being grammatically correct however. One would now sing the lyrics to a very famous song from a movie called Frozen or better still the song lyrics from a similarly themed album Hell Freezes Over.