March 1, 2024


Yo Quiero Techno

The Tyranny of the Task List

4 min read
The Tyranny of the Task List

This post is by Clint Watson,  former artwork gallery proprietor/director/salesperson and founder of FineArtViews. You ought to abide by Clint on Twitter below or indication up for his newsletter right here.







I recently surprised myself by knowing that I have an internal wariness of the to-do list.  

This revelation would most likely shock any person who is familiar with how I operate. In actuality, I use duties lists all the time.  Most times I begin by listing the points I want to carry out on a record.  And, for the duration of the day I carry on to look at items off the checklist.

Process Lists are Economical

Just lately I took it additional.  One working day, I figured I had close to seven targeted several hours to perform.  I calculated, based mostly on my tasks, that I could comprehensive approximately 3 duties for each hour.  So I mentioned the 21 (7 hours x 3 for every hour)  items I needed to execute that working day.  I then took seven publish-it notes and wrote three responsibilities on each and every observe and assigned every take note an hour of the working day (be aware 1 was 8:00 am – 9:00 am, observe 2 was 9:00 am – 10:00 am, note 3 was 10:00 am – 11:00 am, etcetera).  At 8:00 am I place the very first sticky notice on the facet of my computer system check and set all the other lists and notes out of sight so that I could be consistently reminded in the course of the hour only of my a few most important jobs.  I was later on advised that I experienced unwittingly “reinvented” anything called scrum.

This approach of working was extremely economical and retained me “on task” all day extensive.  I completed all 21 tasks by 3:00 pm (which was superb considering the fact that it was a Friday).  What a enormous emotion of accomplishment!  We all get a minor hurry from checking points off a listing [1].  So, I  was ready to love our standing Friday evening “wine tasting” realizing I experienced accomplished “all the things I experienced to do.”  Over the up coming handful of times, I utilized my “scrummy” process many more periods, with equally efficient effects.  

“Enjoy” Allows Excellent Thoughts to Area

A couple situations in the course of those scrummy times I experienced views of new, intriguing ideas that I could possibly like to examine pop into my head.  Software options.  Articles for this blog site.  You name it.  But given that I was on-job and unwilling to drop all the things [2], I pushed those thoughts to the back again burner and stayed centered on completing all my responsibilities.  You know, “system your do the job and do the job your plan”.  After a couple times, I experienced “caught up” to the level that I made a decision to be a bit additional peaceful and just “enjoy.”  

During my “participate in working day”, I banged out code like a mad-man.  The tips flowed (the good thing is).  I launched prototypes of a lot of new tips and attributes (which includes the editor that I am working with to write this short article).  The matter with creative suggestions is that you won’t be able to usually just “help you save them up” – strategies beget other, occasionally superior, thoughts.  I uncover that the very best strategies I have commonly happen when I’m performing on other thoughts or at least thinking about the strategies that I’m at present working on.  At the close of my “enjoy day”, I experienced a record of undone duties but, all round, I experienced achieved so quite a few extra vital factors.  Looking at the “huge plan of matters”,  I would have to confess I was far more effective on the “perform working day” than on the “scrum working day” if we’re defining productiveness as doing wonderful operate that matters.

This is when I had my revelation about to-do lists.  

Endeavor Lists are Constraining

To-do lists are constraints.  They are chains
.  Now, constraints are not usually a bad issue.  Sometimes we need to have constraints to reach good benefits.  If you’ve got a aircraft to capture, it is really possibly not the best time to start a new operate of art and attempt to get into the “zone”. Constraints are necessary.  But we need to have to remember that constraints are, very well, constraining.  And that is not a fantastic thing in resourceful perform.   

So I believe we want to establish a healthy regard for the endeavor checklist and the threat it can present.  I counsel approaching the process listing the way the outdated govt “food pyramid” approached sweets:  use sparingly.  Use them to hold you on endeavor when you have to, but be ready to just take the chains off when inspiration strikes so you can do some work that actually issues.

What do you assume?


Clint Watson
BoldBrush/FASO Founder and Artwork Fanatic


[1]  I believe “minimal hurry from checking factors off a list” can symbolize a type of habit, which I prepare to focus on in an upcoming post.

[2]  I also believe the skill to drop anything and pursue creative concepts is underrated.  People need to do it additional frequently.





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