What is the ultimate to-do list system?
I wish I knew. Seriously. I’m looking for it.
Many of us use the word “ultimate” to mean utmost or maximum: “the ultimate basketball player.” But ultimate has long meant last or final, as in “ultimate destination.” I’m searching for the final to-do system, one I will use forever.
Over the years, I have used a variety of to-do systems. As a lawyer, I need a to-do list system that works. I’ve used the Franklin Planner method (before Franklin ever joined up with Stephen Covey), similar tools on an early Palm handheld device, applications on my Mac, my Newton Message Pad(s), legal pads, variations of GTD, Circa notebooks, Moleskine notebooks, iPhones and my iPad. I’ve used OmniFocus and Things. I can’t even begin to count how much money I’ve spent on various to-do systems, looking for the right one.
With each of these systems, I have a similar experience: I get all my stuff into the to-do system, and then it sits and ferments. Grows mold. Whatever you want to say. Self-imposed deadlines pass, new stuff doesn’t get added. At times I don’t want to look at the to-do list because I don’t want to see all the stuff that’s on it.
Most lawyers wouldn’t want anyone to discover that they have these problems with the to-do list, but I figure nothing good comes from hiding the issue. Things do get done, just not as efficiently as I would like (and I rarely have complaints from clients about getting things done quickly). It seems to me that my bigger problem is a combination of procrastination and lack of discipline. I think if I had a to-do system that confronted me each day with a “here’s the stuff you must do today, and I’m going to pester you until it’s all done” message everything would be great. (It would also need to pester me at the end of each day to put new to-do items in the system!) Hmmm…I think what I may need is a mom in my office. 🙂
What do you use for your to-do systems? How do you maintain them? Who pesters you about them?