Our brains love lists. Belle Beth Cooper nicely summed it up by saying, “We pack all the madness and ambiguity of life into a structured form of writing. In short, making lists is a great way to increase our overall happiness and feel less overwhelmed.” (The Surprising History of the To-Do List and How to Design One That Actually Works, Buffer, October 13, 2013)
- What if more productivity could be coaxed from the lowly to-do list?
- What if super lists existed?
Meet the List Olympians
The basic list – to-do or project list – does its job well. All actions items can be collected there and even prioritized. But more horsepower can be squeezed from the standard list if we step back and revisit how to organize the information. Consider employing these two types of Super Lists in your workday:
- Associated Lists. These list associate action items with other aspects of our lives. By doing so, we get more done in the ordinary flow of the day. For example, we can craft lists with these characteristics:
- Action-Based. Items related by activity (errands, meetings, calls, etc.)
- Time-Based. Items related by time of day or week (mornings, Saturday, etc.)
- Location-Based. Items that relate to each other spatially (office, house, boat, etc.)
- Effort-Based. Items that are related by the amount of effort expended (intensive, quick, etc.)
- Cross-Referenced List. A good example of a cross-referenced list is one with two columns. The left column vertically reflects our upcoming appointments and projects scheduled for the day. The right column is a set of objectives associated with each item listed in the left column, such as key points to discuss during a scheduled meeting. As we move through the day, we can cross-reference the meeting or project we’re working on with the key items to be included in that effort.
Step Up to Super Listing
See if one these super lists can help you make the most of your day the next time you’re sitting down to capture everything that needs to get done.