Time Management Principle #1. Always work from a list

There are good reasons to work from a list.  

  • Your brain is limited. It is like a muscle.  It gets tired.  Asking yourself routine tasks limits your ability to do something creative.  You must protect your brain by limiting the number of items it has to remember or decisions it has to make. 
  • Your brain is programed to forget. The brain has a program to erase items, just like your phone can be programed to delete old text messages.  This is why you can forget to pick up a child, or leave out an ingredient of a familiar recipe, or, more seriously, why a pilot can forget to put down landing gear.
  1.  Make a list. You can go to the internet and look up suggestions or make one out of your head.  This is the only time you want to construct a list out of your head.
  • Keep your list.  Don’t toss it.  Save it on your computer or put it in a file or a notebook.  Even an inaccurate list is better than no list.
  •  Revise your lists.  Delete what you don’t need, add what you forgot to improve.  

Application: Start making lists for everything.  Here are some examples.

  • Grocery list.  Make a printable form for things you regularly buy.  This will prompt your brain to make sure you are stocked on things you regularly use.  It will also organize your list by sections of the store and make it easier for family members to add items to the list and also to stop.
  • Trips. Keep lists for types of trips (air travel, camping, etc.) as well as trips you regularly take (fishing trip to Sun Lakes in May).
  • Holidays. Keep track of what you ate, activities and chores.
  • House maintenance.  What do you do in the spring? Fall?
  • Recipesyou make over and over.

Reading suggestions:

The Checklist Manifesto. Atul Gawande 

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