Time Management - Using a Closed To Do List

Many people view a 'to do' list as an essential part of their time management strategy. Items are appended to it as and when they appear and are prioritized on the fly. This means that the list can never be completed, as new items are continually being added. Some low-priority items can remain on the list for months as they are moved down to make way for higher-priority tasks.

This type of 'open to do list' can be quite de-motivating to use, as it never seems to get any shorter. When items have been on the list for a long time, they can cause you to feel guilty for not having addressed them. An alternative to this sort of list is the so-called 'closed to do list.'

A closed list is one where nothing can be added to until all its items have been completed. It is designed so that all of the items will be finished within a specific timeframe - for example, an afternoon, a day, or a week.

Closed To Do List

Closed lists always work better if they have a short timeframe. The main advantage of a closed list is motivational: the feeling that it represents a finite amount of work that can and will be done by a specific point in time.

If you decide to try using a closed list, then the best approach is to specify it the day before you plan to start it and to make absolutely certain that you can complete it in your working day. You will need to allow time for the inevitable interruptions and you should not try to be too ambitious.

The whole point is that you are setting yourself a realistic target that you will feel positive and motivated about achieving.

You may also be interested in:
Time Management Productivity Tools | Urgency/Importance Grid | ABC Analysis | Pareto Analysis | Reverse Schedule | Calendar Tools | To Do List Tools | Launcher and HotKey Tools | Monitoring Tools | Productivity Tools.

Key Points

  • Using a closed list can be exceptionally motivating.
  • You should set yourself a realistic target that you feel positive about achieving.
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