That old adage about the apple and the tree came to mind this week, as I watched my youngest sort her Valentine’s Day cards into piles. She then carefully created labels for each pile. Apparently, making a list can be inherited.
My mum and dad were a list-maker and label-creator, respectively. Then I married a man who was both, but that is a story best left alone.
As a list maker, I’m in good company. Entrepreneurial greats like Richard Branson admit to living his life by making lists. There are countless cool apps to organize lists. While other people love browsing shoes, I prefer to read reviews of apps like Workflowy or Ita. Lists can be more than action items and productivity. The website 30 Lists encourages journalling through the exercise of list-making.
However, not everyone is on-side with making a list. Another school of thought is that lists create a sense of frustration. Lists are limiting, restrictive, and simply don’t work. This article makes a compelling case for the idea that careful scheduling is more productive than lists. Imagine this: ditch the list, and schedule your tasks according to when they need to be completed, and how long each task requires.
I prefer a blend of making lists and living by the calendar. I like the idea of setting due dates and allowing time for the surprises and fires which arise in life and in business. But the compulsion to make lists runs deep, so I’ll keep my notepad handy and keep looking for that perfect app. What strategy works for you? Do you organize your week according to lists, or do live by your calendar?