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« Types of Lists VIII - The Dynamic List | Main | Types of List VI - So which is best? »

Types of List VII - What do we need in a "No List" system?

In the previous articles in this series, my conclusion was that the “No List” list is the way of the future. But a list on its own is no use. We need a decent system to operate it.

Let’s have a look at what we would like to see from our “no list” time management system:

Re-entering tasks. A lot of the “no list” systems so far developed don’t include provision for re-entering tasks immediately. I think this is essential because the most effective way of dealing with a major task is with frequent bite-sized chunks. It’s how I’m writing this blog post for instance.

Simple to work. It needs to be simple to work. This is by and large a characteristic of “no list” systems so shouldn’t be a problem.

Urgent stuff. It should be possible to deal with an urgent task without leaving the system. This can be difficult to reconcile with the first requirement “Re-entering tasks”.

Keeping the list short. The whole point of a “no list” system is to stop the list growing long and irrelevant.

Getting tasks done. Once a task is on the list it gets done quickly. There should be no compromise about this.

Remembering tasks. A “no-list” system encourages you to think frequently about what needs to be done. However they are not good at processing more than two or three at a time. They are somewhat rigid about how you can enter tasks. I’d like to see some way of improving this.

Not deceiving yourself. “No list” systems make it virtually impossible to deceive yourself about how much you are actually doing. Any system which gets in the way of this should not be allowed.

Writing this blog post has made me realize that I have left out one contender from the Types of List - the Dynamic List. So tomorrow we will have a look at that.



The Dynamic List

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