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The todo list that never was

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When I was practicing. I didn’t use a todo list. My calendar and the stack of files and mail on my desk told me what I needed to do.

Sometimes, I’d jot down a few items on a piece of scratch paper or on the paper blotter/calendar on my desk. A reminder to call someone, a list of things to pick up on my way home. But mostly, my list was stacked up in front of me.

Each morning, my secretary put files on my desk pertaining to clients who had appointments that day and other work. I’d go through the files, look at my notes (and hers) and review new letters and documents. I dictated letters and pleadings and instructions and gave the files back to my secretary. She’d type and/or make calls, make notes, and return the files to me for my review, signature, and further instructions.

Back and forth we went. It was simple. Primitive by today’s standards. But it worked.

Today we seem obsessed with apps and systems for managing lists. So many lists.

Lists of things we need to do now, lists of things we should do next, lists of things we might do someday. Are we really any more productive this way? Are our lives so much more complicated that we need to manage things at such a granular level?

It seems like we spend as much time managing our lists as we do doing the work.

I’m not suggesting we go back to an all-analog world. I like my apps. I like having my business in my pocket. And without staff today, I do have to manage both ends.

But perhaps we would be better off finding ways to simplifying things. A calendar, a simple list of work to do today, and not that much else.

I’ll put that on my @someday/maybe list and @review it later.

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