| David Gane

Sick days and to-do lists

I have had a sore throat and the sniffles all week. However, I've tried to stay busy, even though I haven't been as productive.

The thing that kept me going has been my daily to-do list. Even if I'm a little tired or distracted, I can usually open my reminders to know what's next.

This habit reminded me of something I heard from David Allen in his book Getting Things Done. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but he said a good to-do list should be bulletproof even when you're sick.

I always assumed he meant that even when you're under the weather, you could remain productive. But I think he meant it's important to have a system in place when life throws you a curveball (because you're sick or stressed or in the middle of chaos). Once you've dealt with the problem (either an hour, day, week, or year later), you can return to your list, clean it up and get back to doing what's important.

I think this has a greater impact when you apply it to Stephen Covey's notion of a to-do list focused on a purposeful life.

If the emphasis of your to-do list is on prevention, planning, and recreation, the moments when you aren't running at 100% aren't as critical, because you know you are building positive, long-term habits that will work into your future.

Tags: Productivity

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