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The Death of the ‘To Do’ list

Updated: Oct 2, 2020

Opus One - Productivity Insights


Most people are familiar with the ‘TO DO’  list. Generally represented by a list stuck on the family fridge with a combination of groceries to buy, bills to pay and household chores to get done. (As well as the odd random phone number scrawled to the side)


The incrementally more efficient of us have these lists with us wherever we go in paper form, such as a pad or even some pages dedicated in their diary.


The less organised have them in the form of 723 post it notes stuck around the outside of their computer monitor in the office, on the fridge and in the pages of their dairy.


For the more technically minded, they use apps on their phone such as ‘Reminders’ or the likes, often with a notification badge showing the numbers 72, 41 or 239. 


Whichever form your ‘TO DO’  lists take, they are, in essence, all very similar. They represent all the things we don’t want to forget to do, buy or deal with. They represent THINGS TO DO.


Our CALENDARS , on the other hand, represent the TIME WE HAVE AVAILABLE in our days to do the THINGS WE NEED TO DO. These calendars are generally taken up by our work or career in the form of large chunks of time or appointments with bosses, clients, prospects and the occasional doctor’s appointment. Rarely, do we ever see anything from the ‘TO DO’ list  appear in the ‘AVAILABLE TIME’ section called our CALENDAR. 


Any vacant slots on those calendars get quickly consumed by either our own, or someone else’s urgencies.


So, to finally get to tick off anything from the ‘To Do’ list and get that injection of Dopamine (the Reward Chemical) that our brain’s crave, is a beautiful thing. (Tragically, if we do complete a task that wasn’t originally on the list  - we get the pen out, or open the app and promptly put it ‘ON’ the list, just so we can get our Dopamine injection from ticking it ‘OFF’ the list.