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The Best To Do List is an Ordered Stack of Sticky Notes

Updated on November 20, 2016
janderson99 profile image

Dr. John applies his scientific (PhD) research skills & 30 years experience as an inventor & futurist to review technology, apps, software.

Theoretically, multitasking is encouraged as the perfect way to boost productivity. Many businesses educate their employees how to organize multiple jobs at once.

The truth is that multitasking can destroy productivity and motivation. It often causes oversights and mistakes as workers hurry and get confused trying manage too much at once.

Having a list means that all the items are visible at once and it is hard to re-do the list as priorities change. You can become a slave to 'To Do' apps and software and waste a lot of time changing things.

There is a simple and better way.

To Do Lists encourage multi-tasking and clutter the brain. Put them in a stack in priority order to allow you to focus on one thing at a time.
To Do Lists encourage multi-tasking and clutter the brain. Put them in a stack in priority order to allow you to focus on one thing at a time. | Source
The Sticky Note To Do List
The Sticky Note To Do List | Source

The Stack of Sticky Notes To Do List

A Pile of Sticky Notes

It is better to have a register of jobs and tasks and to work through them in turn. But if you have a list you may keep looking at it and mentally preparing for the next jobs rather than focusing all your attention on the jobs one at a time.

So you need conceal the other items on the list until the first one is completed.

The Perfect To Do List is not a List at all

It is an ordered stack of sticky notes.

► At the start of the day write down all the things you have to manage on a separate sheet (5-10 limit).

► Then order them into a stack, utilizing a mixture of priorities, and how easy task will be to complete. You may want to start with a few simple ones, early in the day before shifting to the main high priority task later.

► This stack, then becomes your To Do List - a stack of notes with the first job on top.

► The benefit of this is that you only see the job your are working on at the top.

► But you know you have processed, prioritized and ordered all the others in the stack.

► You can forget about them and leave your mind uncluttered to focus on the immediate task.

Stick to Five Tasks - Only Five

As you get used to life without a "To do" liist you will realise that you never get below 10 or even 5 items in your stack. Try restricting the stck to 5-10. As you complete a task remove the note from the stack. Keep reducing the number until you are down to 3 tasks, then add 2-5 more tasks, reorder your stack and start again. This simplifies things and provides a better sense of you completing your tasks and being in control.

Simple and Just Perfect!

© 2013 Dr. John Anderson


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  • Diana Grant profile image

    Diana Grant 2 years ago from London

    Your comments about multi-tasking causing confusion absolutely put your finger on my problem!

    I do have a few sticky notes, but mainly about how to do things on the computer.

    I tend to make long lists with a date on them and then sometimes prioritize them with

    A: Important and Urgent

    B: Urgent

    C: Important and

    D: Not important or urgent, but needs doing.

    Works well when I stick to it, but I usually don't! Usually, towards the end, the list has to be re-written and the old one destroyed.

  • tirelesstraveler profile image

    Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

    I have always wondered how you were so productive. Great idea using post it notes and only looking at one job at a time. Vote up, interesting and useful.