Monday, August 27, 2007

Exploding Tasklists

I use 'exploding tasklists' to give a real sense of urgency to the day and force myself to get everything done that I have planned. What is an exploding tasklist? It's just a simple list in Notepad that you create fresh each morning, never close, and are not allowed to save. If you save the file, you can close it, and then it ceases to be top of mind. Throughout the day you add items and check off items (I check off items by adding a leading asterisk). The requirement that you can't save the list means that you are forced to construct your list each day thoughtfully. At the end of the day, your list is gone.

Exploding tasklists work in conjunction with longer term, more persistent lists of tasks and goals that you may use, and they can really help you hammer out progress, day after day after day.

1 comment:

Matthew Cornell said...

I call these "daily task lists," and I like the notepad variation - neat! I agree the main point is to create them fresh every day, and toss them each night. But make sure you create them from your master list of actions, and that you add to the master during the day, possibly in addition to the daily.

One advantage of this approach is because it's (as Mark Forster calls it) a "closed list" - you work it through to completion and you don't add to it (with some caveats). Gives a nice sense of completion.