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« My Book Challenge | Main | Types of Lists I - The "Catch All" List »

Types of Lists II - Daily and Weekly Lists

Opposed to the concept of  the “Catch All” list are daily and weekly lists. The idea is simple enough. Instead of writing a comprehensive list of everything you can think of, you write a selective list of only what you intend to do during the course of the current week. From this list you extract tasks to go on the daily lists.

The process of producing these lists is intended to give you a clear plan for the week and a clear plan for each day. At least that’s the theory. What almost inevitably happens is that when they write the weekly list people grossly overstimate what they are capable of doing in the week and also grossly underestimate the number of unforeseen emergencies and distractions that will arise during that week. And then they do the same with the daily lists. The result is that tasks get carried over from day to day - and by the end of the week a large number needs to be carried over to the next week.

My verdict:

After a few weeks of this, the focus promised by the weekly and daily lists has vanished and what you are left with is virtually the same as the “Catch All” list - with all its disadvantages but without its chief advantage, completeness.



The Daily Open List

Reader Comments (3)

Your verdict is exactly what I've discovered. I started 2016 with a nice new Moleskine weekly planner, and I made a weekly plan. The first week I had a few tasks carry over, but by Sunday, January 24, I was so far "behind" that I was ready to give up.
January 26, 2016 at 16:58 | Unregistered CommenterChristopher E.
This can sometimes work if you're using a "pull" system ala Kanban, but the key point there is that the tasks written in the future plans are *options*, not as commitments:

The fundamental difference between this and a someday/maybe list is that someone has paid some 'token' for the option.

As is usual with kanban and visual aids to time management, this becomes the most valuable when it's used as a collaboration tool.
January 26, 2016 at 22:08 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Freckleton
I came across "Do It Tomorrow" only recently and loved It. GTD had been an epiphany for me a few years ago but I always struggled with the endlessness of open to-do lists. So far your concept of closed lists (and especially your wonderfully simple way to implement it) worked very well for me. I am therefore a little surprised that you apparently dismissed it in your last book and are about to do the same in this series of posts. Anyway I am intrigued and anxious to see where all this is leading us.
February 1, 2016 at 8:29 | Unregistered CommenterVincent P.

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