If you love lists, especially to-do lists like me, you should read this beautiful post by Belle Beth Cooper: The Amazing History Of The To-Do List–And How To Make One That Actually Works.
The author starts explaining why we make lists: it’s a way to simplify the complexity of the world around us, as well as a tool to improve our personal productivity.
Quoting Umberto Eco:
The list is the origin of culture. It’s part of the history of art and literature. What does culture want? To make infinity comprehensible… And how, as a human being, does one face infinity? How does one attempt to grasp the incomprehensible? Through lists…
Among all the lists, to-do lists are a common tool to get things done. Belle Beth Cooper gives us four tips to use them effectively:
- Break projects into tasks, don’t succumb to the Zeigarnik effect
- Prioritize ruthlessly
- Plan ahead
- Be realistic in your planning
Go to the full article to read all the details.
Personally, I use to-do lists every day, both on paper and via Todoist. I find them very useful in order to “download” all the things to do from my mind, sort and prioritize them. This process usually reduces my anxiety levels and makes me feel more efficient. As FastCompany reader PTB noticed:
Lists do something very simple to allow for higher productivity in our daily activities: they take information out of our heads and put it in our tangible world, so we don’t have to mentally juggle as much.
Do you use lists? What are your habits?