In Defense of the Hand Written To-Do List

I’m a geek.  I love my smartphone and my iPad, I’ve worked in IT for years, and I’m all about technology.  So here’s a surprise – I hand write my daily task list.  Every day.  Why would I do that when there are so many great tech based tools out there to keep track of tasks?  Here’s why:

  1. The act of writing a task on paper gives me a minute to think about its importance.  As I write each task I evaluate it.  Do I need to do this personally or could I delegate it?  Does this need to be done today or can it wait?
  2. If I check off a bunch of tasks I feel great!  This is true no matter what system you use, but it’s particularly true for me on my little yellow note pad.  There are only so many lines on each page, and my goal is to continuously make room for new tasks.  I can see what I’ve done and feel like I’ve made real progress.
  3. If I don’t finish a task, I have to write it again the next day.  Every day I start with a clean page and re-write all the old tasks first before adding any new ones.  So whatever is at the top of the list is a carry over from at least the day before.  The more I write a task, the more I want to get it off the list and not have to write it again!

What do you think – how do you stay organized and on track?  How many of you use a paper list?

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