Productivity blogger Ari Meisel offers suggestions on his blog, Less Doing, for more efficient work. Two recent entries offer a suggestion that flies in the face of conventional wisdom — get rid of your to-do list.
Meisel’s thesis is that putting items on a static to-do list is a recipe for constant stress. He writes: “For a to do type task to be effective it has to disrupt your life at the appropriate time that you can get it done in the most efficient way but be completely out of sight and out of mind when it's no (sic) being worked on.”
Meisel suggests using email reminders as a way to organize your tasks, calling it “the task management version of carpe diem.” His email reminders are “the to do list evolved.”
Meisel also discusses the importance of timing rather than prioritization in organizing your life: “It would be foolish to think that simply arranging tasks in a pecking order will have any bearing on your productivity or your life tomorrow or even an hour from now. Obviously, it's important to think big picture when setting long term vision for a company or personal projects, but when it comes down to actually getting things done, we must live in the moment.”
He names followup.cc and HassleMe as email services to help you free yourself from the to-do list. Maybe ditching your to-do list isn’t an option, but email services could help you live a more stress-free existence.