Jeff Davidson's book, Simpler Living, was Amazon Kindle #1 in its category, first quarter, 2012. Jeff is featured in the NY Times, Forbes, Chicago Tribune, Businessweek, Fortune, and Organized Executive.

The “Now” To-Do List

Regardless of what kind of sophisticated appointment, scheduling, and to-do list system you employ throughout the day, especially when you return from a meeting, lunch, or some other activity that took you away from your work space, occasionally you may feel at a loss for what to do next. This is the ideal time to employ what I refer to as the “now” to-do list.

Before the constant stream of interruptions begins, on a piece of scrap paper, post-it pad, or any electronic screen that suits your fancy, immediately write down the handful of things you want to get to in short order. In other words, take a moment or two to reflect on what you want to tackle in the here-and-now. Perhaps as a result of the meeting you just attended, or the time you’ve been away, some tasks, search engine look-ups, or administrative details that were not pressing before you left your workspace, suddenly make sense to tackle. Why?

In some cases, this short list is simply a shortcut for having to enter the item into your formal to-do list. You get to strike while the iron is hot, and that is personally satisfying. It also may make excellent sense. Following up on some new piece of information you just encountered, while the issue that it represents is fresh in your mind, affords you the opportunity to allocate some instant energy in pursuing it further.

As you compose your “now” to-do list, keep in mind that some of the items that have already made your formal, extended, list-in-progress, could suddenly seem much more appropriate to tackle in the here-and-now as the result of whatever new challenges have arisen.

I have used the “now” to-do list and found it to be an ultra-effective way to not lose track of or meander on tasks I want to tackle headlong, to reduce anxiety, and to maintain a continuing sense of control. Also, the keynote speeches and seminars I’ve delivered invariably invoke a warm reception when I’ve introduced this productivity strategy to audience members.

Some audience members, in one form or another, have already gravitated toward the notion or employing short, on-the-fly to-do lists for many if not all of the reasons I have described above. So, to put this strategy into place for you, as a result of reading this article, what ideas have spun forth and merit inclusion on your “now” to-do list?


Jeff Davidson is "The Work-Life Balance Expert®," is a preeminent time management authority, has written 59 mainstream books, and is an electrifying professional speaker, making 806 presentations since 1985 to clients such as Kaiser Permanente, IBM, American Express, Lufthansa, Swissotel, America Online, Re/Max, USAA, Worthington Steel, and the World Bank. Jeff is Executive Director of the Breathing Space Institute; a popular speaker; and the author of books such as:
  • Simpler Living (Skyhorse Publishing)
  • The 60 Second Innovator (Adams Media)
  • Breathing Space (MasterMedia)
  • Complete Idiot's Guide to Managing Your Time (Alpha/Penguin)
Jeff is the premier thought leader on work-life balance issues and has been widely quoted in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, and USA Today. Cited by Sharing Ideas Magazine as a "Consummate Speaker," Jeff believes that career professionals today in all industries have a responsibility to achieve their own sense of work-life balance, and he supports that quest through his websites www.BreathingSpace.com and www.Work-LifeBalance.net and through 24 iPhone Apps at www.itunes.com/apps/BreathingSpaceInstitute.


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