All my life I have been a ‘to-do list’ guy. It works for me. Even in the current age of digitization, I find maintaining a work diary very useful and effective. So much so that I even designed an executive planner for my own use. It is exciting to see demand for the same is increasing every year.
I don’t remember a day in my life when I did not refer my diary for things I want to accomplish that day. Over the years I have noticed that things that gets into my to-do list mostly gets done and things which are not there in the list don’t exist (I mostly forget them). Now, this is definitely a challenge; to ensure that all the important things are listed in my diary or else I am not able to do them. This has really caused me some embarrassing moments but I really can’t help myself and have kind of made peace with my habit. Some of my hi-tech friends have even joked, calling me old fashioned. That’s fine.
In the past I did try some electronic versions, reminders, apps, etc. Nothing worked. Now I even don’t try to get rid of this habit and I guess it will only die with me.
The good and bad of it
The to-do list is like a daily ritual for me. End of the day when I complete most of the tasks, it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I am always on top of my schedule and conscious of time. Sooner or later I am able to do/finish things that feature in the list. However, there has always been a tendency to write more things than I could accomplish on a given day and not being able to tick everything makes me feel guilty of not using my time well. Also, I will admit to falling prey to the feel good factor of doing small things and ticking more items than doing the most important things.
Over the years, I have tried tens of hundreds of ways to improve my to-do list. From rough sheets, to copies, to registers, to diaries, to self designed planners; I have never stopped experimenting. Prioritizing the work has been the biggest challenge. In the last few years, I have kind of overcome the tendency to write too many things in the daily list. I write fewer things now and the carefully designed columns help me prioritize my work better.
I know I am outdated. I know the world has moved. I know I am obsessed with my to-do list. I know no other way of doing things and I have stopped trying too. I have started believing; it doesn’t need to work with the world as far as it works for me.