Ratha (papertygre) wrote,

To-do lists as diaries of goals

Once in a while I'll go look at my Google Tasks or Remember the Milk and realize I haven't touched it in 2 months, and I'll read through the list with amusement, thinking "Finished that, that became irrelevant, boy was I worried about that and it turned out to be nothing, oh and I forgot about that...." It's like finding a box of old letters to myself.

I read in one or two places that to-do lists are more effective if you re-write them from scratch every so often (such as each day), ideally without looking at the previous list. The benefits are: (1) things naturally drop off if the importance drops -- if it's not top of mind, you don't write it down; (2) writing out your goals on a regular basis is supposed to be helpful in focusing on them; (3) you are always looking forward instead of feeling a guilty sense of obligation attached to stale items on an old list. Another benefit might be the fact that if you are using this technique and keeping the lists in a notebook or archive, you can go look at a list from 2 months ago and realize how your perspective has changed since then.

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