The Awesome Power of Lists

        What I like most about Facebook are the cool things other people post. Last week someone posted a TEDx video of a presentation done by author David Allen called “The Art of Stress-Free Productivity.” The title piqued my interest.


   You may recognize David Allen as being the author of the book ‘Getting Things Done’, and his first suggestion was to PARK things to get them off your mind. In other words, make a list of the things that are on your mind, so they’re off your mind – for now. He even went so far as to suggest “don’t keep anything in your head for the rest of your life!” He suggests you should “use your mind to get stuff off your mind.”

Allen points out that we need room and space to think. He calls it ‘psychic bandwidth’. He says that when we need to be creative we need to be able to spread out and make a mess – and that’s just not possible when we’re already living in a mess.

Cheri and I have used this in our own lives but unfortunately we’ve often done it as a last resort. In other words, when one of us is totally stressed out and overwhelmed, the other will ask “would you like me to help you make a list?”

A better approach would involve routinely making lists, and then further breaking down those lists into sub-lists. You could categorize these lists by topic, or you could categorize them by time frame, making sure there is also an ACTIVE LIST that you are working with on any given day.

In my most recent book, 18 Holes To Your Goals, I point out that a scorecard acts as a kind of ACTIVE WORK LIST. Start on Hole #1, then proceed to Hole #2, Hole #3 and so forth. This pre-structured plan makes golfers effective at getting from A to B repeatedly. Active lists are, in essence, the structure of one’s daily course. And if you have not-too-much-else to think about along the way, that would make for some stress-free productivity.

In my next blog post, I'll be writing about something that inspires me.


Copyright © 2013 Rick Hoogendoorn