To Think Lists

You and I both have “to do lists.” Some of you may be using a sophisticated system and some of you may just be listing your to do items in a piece of paper. And, probably small percentage of you may simply maintain the to do list in your mind.

Knowing that you are smart, I can predict that your to do list is overflowing. You have more tasks than you have time. Building a sophisticated system of to do lists is not completely helping because you just add more things into the system.

If I guess it right, you are probably aware of the challenges of managing time (or to be precise, managing yourself within the available time.) You probably are already taking necessary actions to make the most of your time.

[ Please see: ChangeThis Manifesto – Making the Most of Your Time ]

What influences your To Do list?

So, the cycle goes something like this:
1. Make a To Do List
2. Start checking off things in the list
3. Re-arrange spillover to do items for a future date
4. Go back to step 1 the next day

There are several things that will influence the following:
1. What is getting into the To Do list
2. Why is it getting into the To Do list
3. What you like and don’t like about what is getting into the To Do list
4. How fast is the To Do list getting cleared
5. What is your feeling when things get cleared or remained undone in the To Do list

But there is one thing that plays a big role and that is : Your Quality of Thinking

Only YOU can work on improving your quality of thinking

You meet and exceed people’s expectations based on your actions. your quality of thinking definitely influences the actions you take but that is not easily visible to others. For instance, if you produce a report in the promised seven days, the client is happy. He or she won’t care whether you spent 140 hours in those seven days or you were able to get this done by spending five hours a day. It’s not important to the client but it’s VERY important for you. In the latter case, your quality of thinking not only influenced the actions you took to produce the report but it also influenced your quality of life positively. In the former case, there was no life left for you think about the “quality of life.”

So, only YOU will really have an incentive to improve your quality of your thinking. How can you get started there?

To Think List

The importance of To Do List is understandable because of the importance of getting something done. As we discussed, quality of thinking deeply influences your quality of actions. So, it makes logical sense to a To Think list. The only way you get better at something is via practice. So, you get better at thinking by…well, thinking!

Since your To Do List is already overflowing, you might not have given a thought to create a To Think List. Without one, you will be swamped with catching up on your To Do list and taking time to think will keep going back on your priority list.

To make things complicated, most of your education was all about doing well. Your curriculum didn’t include even a few topics on how to think well. It was left for you to figure that out. To Think List will get you started on that path.

The way I have used To Think List is like the way I use a To Do List. I will put items on it that I have to think about in the future. When I set aside time for myself, I have a handy list of things to think about.

All of us can improve our quality of thinking – if we are committed to investing our time on it.


If To Do Lists can improve your productivity directly, To Think Lists can improve your quality of thinking (and hence improve your productivity, indirectly)

Photo Courtesy: squeaky482 on Flickr