Effective List Writing – NaBloPoMo Day 3

list writing to do list task jobThis month is NaBloPoMo or National Blog Posting Month. Though, unlike the novel-writing a similar name, NaBloPoMo seems to happen every month.

My blog posting has been down recently, and NaBloPoMo may just be the way to increase the number of posts. The prompts for January have been released here, and they seem to be fairly general, so you may just find out a little more about me. I’ve missed a couple of days I know but jumping in to NaBloPoMo on the 3rd is not so bad, is it?

So, what’s the prompt for today’s, Friday 3rd of January post?

“Do you have a tendency to procrastinate, or do you like checking things off your to-do list?”

This prompt is a little strange, because to me the two things are separate.

First you have “Do you procrastinate”, followed by asking if “I check things off a to-do list”.

To answer the first bit, I procrastinate. I procrastinate like there’s no tomorrow. Of course, that would at least make some modicum of sense. After all, why bother rushing to do something if there wasn’t going to be a tomorrow? Unless, I held the key to saving the world in which case procrastination would be the worst thing to do.

The subject of putting things off and maintaining motivation ties neatly into my Resolutions for 2014 post I wrote yesterday, which you can read here.

Apart from having motivational issues I have a god-awful memory as well. So anyone expecting me to complete a whole load of activities without me writing them down first should expect me to have forgotten most of them before you’ve finished telling me in the first place.

It’s usually at this point that I write that list.  There’s a chance that I’m writing a list because my wife is threatening parts of my anatomy with kitchen implements, but let’s go with just the forgetting thing for now.

So how do you write an effective list?

There are a few things to consider if you do have to write a to-do list, and these are my four points to good list writing. (This post does have to go somewhere after all, and you never know good list writing may be of interest to someone out there.)

  1. Add a few easier to complete tasks that you can cross off your list quickly. Your task list won’t look as dominating if you can cross a few things off quickly.
  2. Break down your big tasks into smaller jobs – as above, you will feel better the quicker and more often you get to cross things off your list, but…
  3. Don’t put ridiculously small or trivial items on your list. Although, adding ‘go to toilet’ or ‘breath in’ would be easily crossed off. Your list does have a specific purpose and crossing those tasks off your list won’t make you feel better. No achievement, so no dopamine rush, ergo no happy, happy, joy, joy feelings.
  4. Be realistic with what is actually achievable in the timescale you have. If you have 50 things on your list and 3 hours, you are unlikely to be able to get everything done.

There we have it, a few points in how to write a good task, job or to-do list. Or is this an area that most people can do without external help? Probably. Well bring on Mondays NaBloPoMo post.

Jim Franklin

Jim Franklin

Jim Franklin is a freelance writer, living in Derby UK with his wife. When time allows he likes nothing more than losing himself in a multi-hour gaming session. He likes most games and will play anything but prefers MMO's, and sandbox RPG's.

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