The List

Posted: 2023-10-19

As a general observation, I tend to be more productive when I know what to do next at any given moment.

There are days when I’ve seemingly gotten a “week” of work done on an afternoon, those are the days when what I needed to do was very clear, and I basically just had a list of items to tick off one by one.

There have admittedly also those ignoble weeks weeks when I’ve gotten an afternoon’s work done, mostly they are weeks when it’s not been at all clear what to do next.

The problem is that while I often have ideas about what to do, they rarely come the moment a task is finished. Instead the ideas arrive when I’m out on a walk, or when I’m already working on some other thing, or barge in as I’m talking to someone, basically every other moment except when they are needed.

It’s often the small tasks that get lost, and it’s often ticking off a bunch of small tasks that makes for getting a lot done in a day.

So the solution is some sort of todo-list. Have an idea, write it down.
Don’t know what to do, look at the list. Defrag the list as it gets cluttered. Easy as that.

There are many solutions from basic to complicated and even technical, and I’ve tried most of them, systems for note-keeping, apps for note-keeping, widgets for note-keeping.

A regular paper notebook with a bullet point list remains my favorite. It’s supremely portable and there’s something very rewarding about striking a line through tasks that have been finished.

So I’m writing this mostly as a reminder to myself, as this is a habit I’m falling out of sometimes. Remember when you got a lot of shit done, Viktor of the future? Good times. You should try that again.