Keeping “to-do lists”

Are to-do lists a helpful tool to getting things done? Or do you find them frustratingly long and seemingly insurmountable? Or do you find them buried under papers or in old documents/post-it notes on your screen, wall, door?  Or do you somehow ignore to-do lists entirely?

Thanks to Andy Crouch’s 5 Questions post on to-do lists, I’ve had quite a few good conversations with friends and family on this topic. Two pastors of my local congregation have given some interesting feedback on the topic.  One quipped that he finds to-do lists helpful in his search for significance, i.e., when he crosses items off his list he feels like he’s accomplished something. He confesses to sometimes adding items to be crossed off … I’ve heard this from some other people ;-)  Another pastor noted the cultural rootedness of to-do lists:

In our culture, almost everyone has multiple things to manage, most not by choice but by necessity in our complex, multi-faceted world – more than can conveniently be remembered.  Thus the need for external support mechanisms.

What are you thoughts? In what manner are to-do lists vital to the scholar. Does this vary from field to field and the level of one’s responsibility? What tools do you use to manage and prioritize items on to-do lists? Is this cultural artifact unique and/or over-used in the United States (or Western Civilization)?

Maybe this should be the topic for Chapter 2 of Up to the Minute Publishing ;-)

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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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