My introduction to To-Do Lists for personal productivity came probably 30 years ago while listening to Earl Nightengale. He told a story of the consultant who was hired by the CEO of a huge steel company many years ago to help him be more effective and get things done.

The consultant told the CEO to make a list of important tasks that must be done. Choose the most important one and work on it until it was completed. Cross it off the list and work on the next one.

One of the key practices of David Allen’s “Getting Things Done” is lists.

I use Nozbe to record all the ideas I have that will require a task to get done. It then generates lists. My challenge right now is to pick the 4-5 most important ones and make a daily list. Looking over a list of 63 items can be quite disheartening.

Recently, David Allen posted a blog about the Amazing History of To-Do Lists. Ben Franklin to Johnny Cash. Interesting reading.

Lists have an ancient and honorable past. Umberto Eco, one of my favorite writers, even has written a book on lists–The Infinity of Lists.

We are approaching New Year’s Day and I’m sure all of you will be making a list of your New Year’s Resolutions (actually, I hope not). But if you are thinking about having a more effective 2014 than 2013, then consider how you use lists.

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