Why your “to-do” list doesn’t work

Here is an article written by Dave Johnson for CBS MoneyWatch, the CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the website’s newsletters, please click here.

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(MoneyWatch) COMMENTARY If you’re like most folks, you have some sort of “to-do” list at work. And since you’re not an anarchist, you probably assign each task some sort of priority and tackle the workload in order. “Getting Things Done” guru David Allen — someone who it’s fair to say is a master of to-do lists — says that approach sets you up for failure.

At the very least, it’s not the most efficient way to work. According to Allen in the GTD Times, a typical to-do list doesn’t account for the way priorities can shift rapidly through the work day. They also don’t consider human factors, like what time of day you are most productive and the fact that no matter how many “red bangs” you put next to a work item, you probably won’t tackle it at 5 p.m. on a Friday.

Says Allen, “On a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis, there is no algorithm or formula that will last very long or is really worth trying to nail down in some written or coded system.”

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To read the complete article, please click here.

Dave Johnson, who worked for Microsoft from February 2004 to April 2012, has written three dozen books, including the best-selling How to Do Everything with Your Digital Camera, and covered technology for a long list of magazines that include PC World and Wired.
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