December 26, 2007

The "Not Insane" To-Do List

"There is no multi-tasking. There is only the monkey mind jabbering so fast it seems like multi-tasking." *

CHIEF AMONG THE RESOLUTIONS about to be made will be the one in which "we here highly resolve" to get more stuff done. "Productivity" has become a pagan idol and it's cult is GTD -- or "Getting Things Done." Merlin Mann @ 43 Folders is the high priest of this cult and David Allen is his prophet.

As Bokonon says in Cat's Cradle, "Busy, busy, busy."

But putter not, I am here to "restore you to life."

As you know, we all have far too much to do. But the only reason this is so is because of the proliferation of productivity tools that respond to our insane lust to be "productive." Driving this insanity is the To-Do list which is, being limitless, is unlimited in its ability to drive us insane.

It's time to stop the To-List insanity. To just say no to To-Do.

Toss all you've previous To-Do Listing Systems you've got out -- paper and/or electronic -- and convert to this new, improved certifiably not-insane system.

Click to enlarge

Prints out on 3x5 cards suitable for your Hipster PDA

A PDF file suitable for printing is located RIGHT HERE.

Don't say I never do anything to increase your sanity, because I just did.

Posted by Vanderleun at December 26, 2007 1:13 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Not unlike my discovery years ago that whether I worked 40 or 80 hours a week my WIP (Work In Progress) queue never changed size. I simply said after 40 hours, unless it is a genuine, gold-plated, class AA prime emergency, I'm outa here. Forced me to prioritize my work, and all the important stuff got done. I was more sane as a result.

Posted by: Bill at July 31, 2005 7:58 PM

Where's the item for convincing my wife that this will do? Calling Yog-sothoth!

Posted by: Morenuancedthanyou at July 31, 2005 10:15 PM

Just re-title it, "The Not-Insane Honey-Do List."

Posted by: Gerard Van Der Leun at August 1, 2005 6:37 AM

Alternatively, if using a hipster PDA or cards like, you can just pluck out three cards to work on that day.


Posted by: Liz at August 1, 2005 1:11 PM

So I get to start drinking after three to-dos? WAHOOO!

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at August 1, 2005 10:35 PM


Posted by: Bry at August 2, 2005 6:55 AM

Tom Peters calls this "THE ONE TOOL WHICH WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR CAREER". Bob Cree-Hay said it was a list of "those things that, if I achieve them today, will really make a difference."

Posted by: Philip Hellyer at August 3, 2005 5:20 AM

I would like to point out that the hipster PDA is not a PDA - it is a PAA (personal analog assistant). You could play tetris on it too, but you'd have to animate it FRAME BY FRAME.

Posted by: Sam at August 3, 2005 8:53 AM

PDA = parietal disgorgement aid, not personal digital assistant. ;)

Posted by: Phil at August 4, 2005 2:49 AM

Personally prefer the GTD system where my tasks are smaller, three of those takes could take as little as five minutes

Posted by: Adam at August 12, 2005 7:03 PM

I rarely am busy, and it's not because I'm retired. This is a fetish with most Americans--they overschedule and underperform so they can say "look how important I am."

Occasionally I make a list, but not often. Today I did, because I needed to buy some Christmas presents.

Posted by: Norma at December 11, 2006 12:42 PM

Norma that's're attitude is the only truly sane one.

Posted by: phil g at December 17, 2006 5:52 AM

The whole "productivity" obsession is indeed so much Cah-Cah. We are NOT more productive than we were, say . . . 40 years ago. We just produce more dithering bullshit in less time then ever.

In the race to the Moon (yes the Soviets REALLY were racing us) in the 60's, we got to the Moon from the word "go!" in 8 years.

In the "multitasking" 90's and beyond, we've been building a Space Station less than 300 miles away for the last 2 decades, and are still not done.

Posted by: Roderick Reilly at December 27, 2007 10:18 AM

I used to keep a list. I would even put things already accomplished on it so I could have some crossed off. It irritated other people that couldn't seem to get as many things crossed off their list.

These days I still have lists, but I look at every entry and ask "what's going to happen if I don't do this right now!" if the answer's 'nothing' then I put it on another list. When I look at things on that list I ask myself "what is going to happen if I never do this?" if the answer to that is "nothing" I can cross it off.

Posted by: John D at January 8, 2008 12:47 PM

Maybe I'll have a _to do" list some day.
I'm sort of a "do whatever makes ya happy, spur of the moment, impulsive guy.

FYI, "to do" is a sound Chinese people use;
It means roughly "couch potato".

Didi Mao!

Posted by: Otis Driftwood at March 7, 2009 3:50 PM