Monday, December 29, 2014

The incredible growing todo list

So, I have this staff member at my school in a new position who still has a lot to learn about todo lists. I was checking in with her during the in-service before school, asking if she needed anything. She pulled this little piece of a sticky note out and showed me. I was amazed that she only had two things to remember to do, but I remembered that she was new and the students hadn't arrived yet. Then it hit me, here was a staff member using **scraps of sticky notes** to keep track of tasks. Aargh!

How could this be? This would have to be the least efficient task management system in the history of todo lists!

Once my heart rate returned to normal, I took a deep breath. Here I was, the digital principal, mister productivity himself staring at a one-inch square piece of sticky note of a todo list. I calmly suggested that my colleague think about a more efficient system. Did she want me to help her come up something? She told me that she would take care of it, that she was still figuring things out. Ok. I moved on to talk of the coming year.

A few days later, once school was in session, I was in the hall talking with the staff member. I asked how she was doing? Could I help her at all? She pulled out her hand from her pocket and showed me an index card with her new todo list. Well, her list had grown from two items to about fourteen. That seemed reasonable for the second week of school.

Hold on a minute, this was just that same as the sticky note only enlarged. Holy moly! Again, I nearly fainted. I asked if she was keeping up with everything. Sheepishly, she said something about having a little trouble remembering everything she had to do. Really! Again, I offered help getting organized. She said yes this time.

I wish that could tell you about how this staff member has become a digital pioneer and a productivity trailblazer using Evernote and an Apple Watch or Google glass and a chip embedded in her brain.

It turns out that this staff member wasn't interested in any high tech task management. She settled on a good old fashioned notebook and pen system. Now, whereever she goes, so goes the notebook. What she writes down, she remembers to take care of. Nearly four months later, it still works. And that, after all, is what matters most in a todo list.

What do you use for managing your tasks? Digital or analog list maker? What works for you?