March 28, 2016 smz-blog

The to-do list: have I been wrong all along?

As a player in this frenetic businesses called advertising, I’m queen of the to-do list. I have three on my desk right now. But are they adding to my stress?

I read an article recently by Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management  and my lists, apparently, are deadly.

He says to-do lists don’t:

  • Account for time. People do the quick things and leave the others undone.
  • Distinguish between urgent and important.
  • Relieve stress. Instead, they add to it, because people tend to remember what they didn’t get done and … stress about it.

Instead, Kruse says to turn your calendar into your day’s blueprint and do these three things.

  • Time-block out the important things. A big project, collaboration brainstorming sessions, even exercise and date night. Ditch the phone, turn a blind eye to email notifications and focus.
  • Schedule in 15-minute increments. Don’t give yourself 30 minutes. You might only need five. Only use as much time as is necessary. Get it done.
  • Schedule EVERYTHING. When to check your email, call your sister, discuss a project.

It’s the scheduled stuff that actually gets done, says Kruse. When it’s on your calendar, you stick with it.

He also recommends some buffer time, because of course, the dog gets sick and mom has unexpected doctor appointments. But you’re bound to find a way to use that extra time.

The ad biz is filled with lots of distractions, so the tips make sense. But I’m not sure I’m ready to give up my to-do list entirely. I’m certainly not giving up my grocery list.

What about you? Calendar or to-do list.

– Trish Cowan, Senior Copywriter

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