Simplicity-Lit: 1st on To Do List is make To Do List Simple


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Two-fer! Excerpts from “The Time Trap” by R. Alec Mackenzie and “Walden” by Henry David Thoreau:

“Most managers, when asked to list what they expect to do tomorrow, start writing down not one day’s work but three or four days’. They generally underestimate time requirements by an appalling margin and make no allowance for interruptions and emergencies totally unrelated to the tasks they set out to accomplish.”

– R. Alec Mackenzie, The Time Trap, McGraw-Hill, 1972.

 

 

“Our life is frittered away by detail. An honest man has hardly need to count more than his ten fingers, or in extreme cases he may add his ten toes, and lump the rest. Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb-nail.”

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

21-0 is not a football score but it’s a losing score nonetheless, and many of us achieve it every day at work. It is the number of things we put on our to-do list and actually think we’re going to get done, versus the number of things we actually get done off that list. What is the point in pretending and then going home at night feeling like a failure? Simplicity and realism is better than self-delusion and self-despising.

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