Recently, there was a lively debate between Kevin Kruse and Sir Richard Branson about the Pros and Cons of using To Do lists as part of your productivity workflow.
Kevin Kruse, author of the book "15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management", recently published an article in Fastcompany entitled "Why Creating A To-Do List Is Derailing Your Success”. In this article, Kevin suggested eliminating your "To Do" lists. He stated that they were a waste of time, were rarely followed, and increased your stress levels.
In his article he highlights 3 key problems with To Do lists:
They don’t account for time.
They don’t distinguish between urgent and important.
They contribute to stress.
Instead of using "To Do" lists, he proposes an approach of “time scheduling” all your key activities.
Kevin provides 3 key suggestions in his article:
Time-block the most important things.
Think in 15-minute increments.
In his article, he actually named Sir. Richard Branson as an example of a super-productive executive that doesn't make use of To Do lists.
Well, it appears that Richard Branson must have heard about this reference to him in Kevin's article and disagreed with this statement and that he, in fact, does make extensive use of "To Do" lists.
On his Virgin blog, he posted an article "To-do lists are only useful if you DO them" in which he outlines why To Do lists were a critical part of his, and his firm’s success.
In his article, Richard makes a few key points:
Writing down your ideas helps to organize your thoughts and provide focus.
Not doing everything on your To Do list is actually part of the process.
By writing things down, it helps you decide what is actually worth doing.
In fact, Richard went on to state in the article:
Well, things didn't stop there.....
In response to Richard's article, Kevin posted a challenge to him. He stated that if invited to meet with Richard Branson on his private island, he could convince him to give-up his To Do lists in 30 minutes. Kevin even offered a $25,000 charitable donation if he couldn't convince Richard to switch, but his "To Do" list as a prize if he could convince him to switch.
Kevin also clarified that he was not against the use of basic lists or note taking. Instead, his point was that in order to achieve ultra-productivity, scheduling your tasks is more successful and less stressful then using To Do lists.
It’s an interesting question and debate.
As you perform your daily Email processing, think of how "To Do" lists fit into your own, personal "ways-of-working".
In a prior article, I actually discussed the need for Balancing Tasks and Appointments with your Calendar.
I suggest you review the original article by Kevin Kruse, the response by Richard Branson, and the challenge by Kevin Kruse in detail. There are also some good "comments" to the articles by many readers.
I will provide my viewpoints in my next post, but would be interested in your thoughts on the matter.