A “no list” list may sound like a contradiction in terms, but what it means is that you work at tasks with no list other than a short buffer list of about one to five items. You keep the buffer topped up by adding new tasks to replace the tasks you have finished working on.
The essential characteristic of a “no list” list is that you do not work off any form of master list. You decide what needs working on next in accordance with your knowledge of what needs to be done.
The shortest form of “no list” is just to write down the next thing you are going to do, immediately before you do it.
Whatever form of “no list” you use, you are continually forced throughout the day to ask yourself the question “What am I going to do next?”. At the end of the day you have a list of what you have actually done. By examining this you can get a better idea of exactly how much you can do in a day, what important things you are neglecting and what inessentials you are wasting time on.
An example of a “no list” system is the Productivity system found in my book “Secrets of Productive People”.
Although it may seem frightening at first to work with a “no list” system, they are very effective at quickly consolidating good low-level routines and systems into your work. These in their turn free you to concentrate on the high-level work.
Of the types of lists I have looked at so far in this series, a “no list” list used properly is the most likely to be the winner in the evolutionary stakes. But we’ve still got one comparison yet to make.
Using no list at all