The Power of Lists

One of the things that impacted me the most about GTD is lists. It’s such a ridiculously simple concept, but it’s incredibly powerful. I was reminded of this recently when I saw an article at Boxes and Arrows called Check It Twice: The B&A Staff Reveals the Way They Make Lists. It isn’t about GTD at all really, but it’s useful nonetheless. It includes things like “Holiday cookies”, “Refrigerator lists”, and even included a bit about Backpack, but the one that I found most interesting was called Mantras:

  • Simplify
  • Smaller, smaller
  • Do only what you love, love everything that you do
  • Embrace constraints
  • Less
  • Honor your mistake as a hidden intention
  • Disrupt business as usual

…And so on.

I like that, I think I’m going to add that to my lists.

Back to my original point, one of the first things I started doing when I implemented GTD, was to start keeping reference lists. I use the “Memos” section of my Palm T5 to store them. I was first inspired by The David’s tip, but I’ve gone on to create some of my own.

Here’s a sampling:

  • Fun Projects - Little programming things I may want to do some day.
  • Model numbers - This is a list of model numbers for much of what I own. That way when I’m out shopping and I remember that I need to buy furnace filters, I don’t have to try and remember what size I have, it’s right there in my list.
  • Blog topics - Things I may want to write about here someday. * Music - Various albums, songs, and artists I may want to buy.
  • Books - Books I want to read
  • Gift ideas - Throughout the year, when my wife mentions something she’d like, I jot it down in a list with her name. When it comes time to buy gifts, I’ve got a list to choose from. I have one of these lists for everyone I buy gifts for. My kids, parents, in-laws, etc.
  • Checklists - I keep checklists for certain things I have to do regularly, like “Project startup”, “New employee”, etc.

This is only a few of my lists, I probably have 50 or so.

Do you have any lists like this? Share in the comments, I’m always looking for new ideas.