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I’m going to shamelessly re-post one of the comments from that article I cited in my previous post.  This respondent points out that any system will only work if it’s part of a right-thinking approach to work.

This might just be the best summary of anti-procrastination behaviour ever:

First, it is crucial to understand that [this method assumes] that you want to organize your non-committed time, that is: time which is not fixed in appointments, meetings etc.

Second, if you are a person who seeks the “best” way to organize tasks: don’t do it! You will spend most of your productive time sorting lists, finding software for your lists, choosing Moleskins and pens etc.

Ultimately, you need these things:

A diary to record your appointments, date-dependent reminders and other fixed commitments.

A list in whatever form is suitable for you. It could be a sheet of paper, a spreadsheet, or more sophisticated software. For information, currently I use ToDoList which is a portable freeware software.

Determination to go through your list every day, and not be side tracked by the most recent new actions which are not even on the list, for example a just-arrived email. This is especially important, because that’s the reason why to-do lists begin accumulating old stuff that you will never do yet you have on the list and feel guilty about not doing.

A calm determination to choose a manageable number of tasks for the to-do list which you commit yourself to do within the day. This is Mark’s closed-list idea which I find very useful to adopt.

(edited slightly by me; emphases mine. -J)

Boy, has he got my number!  I am definitely guilty of using my inbox as my task list.  And I LOVE starting new systems – any excuse to build a spreadsheet or shop for fancy new stationary! *blush*  (By the way, the Autofocus method requires neither.)

Another poster makes the point in a slightly different way.  To paraphrase:

You’re only going to work on one task at a time, so don’t waste time prioritizing your whole to-do list.  Once a task is done cross it off, mark off tasks that are no longer list-worthy, add new tasks if you have them, then choose the most important item and attack it!  Repeat ad infinitum.

Well, I made a daily to-do list this morning, and I don’t see “three blog posts” on there anywhere, so I guess I’d better get back to work.  Back to good work habits, that is!

-Johnny 0.



  1. I just want to be notified of site updates, but it’s forcing me to leave a comment

    • Welcome, subscriber 🙂

  2. Very intersting reading! I’m also guilty – my inbox chews up over 50% of my day, even though there are far more inportant things to be doing…

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