Where would we be without our ‘To Do’ lists? It never ceases to amaze me that we are told, and believe, that these things are going to make us so much more efficient and save us bucket loads of time. I used to meticulously complete my list at the weekend so that I was prepared for the coming week. I could never understand why, by the end of Monday, I was exhausted and the dreaded ‘To Do’ list was untouched. By the time I had added to the list each day I knew that by Friday it would be twice as long as when I started at the beginning of the week. I could never understand how, after a busy week at work, this magical list that was supposed to make me more effective, had multiplied!
I thought that I had found the answer when I read about ‘To Don’t’ lists. The idea was that you create a list of all the things that you needed to stop doing. This would in turn give you time to do the important things, ie. the things on your ‘To Do’ list. My dilemma was do I put “Create a ‘To Don’t’ list” on my ‘To Do’ list? Or should I be putting on my ‘To Don’t’ list, “Stop doing a ‘To Do’ list! I solved the problem by putting them on both lists knowing that I would never find the time to complete either list anyway!
I recently heard that a previous Bishop of York used to have a ‘Too Difficult’ file in his filing cabinet. Now that seems like a great idea. Any job, request for information or piece of paper that comes across your desk that you don’t immediately know what to do about – put it into your ‘Too Difficult’ file. If you put something in this file that is really important you can guarantee that someone will chase you for it – the chances are that no one will bother. I have decided to put both my ‘To Do’ list and my ‘To Don’t’ list in my ‘Too Difficult’ file and hopefully that will give me a chance to so some work!