Writing tasks for our to-do lists, we often err in one of two directions: either your tasks are too scarce on details or they’re chock-full of way too much information. Blogger Ethan Schoonover suggests writing down tasks as though you’re delegating them to someone you know in order to write succinct but complete tasks.
The secret to all this is that, when you are writing down your deferred tasks “normally,” in truth you’re actually delegating but you just don’t realise it. You are simply delegating to your future self. The problem is that, in our present-self state of mind when planning tasks, we are filling in the gaps in our writing with present-knowledge.
This knowledge fades quickly and by the time our future-self picks up the work, the mortar of that transient information has dissolved, turning what seemed to be a solid, actionable task into an unclear jumble of words.
If you’ve ever come back to a to-do list full of three to four-word tasks you wrote down a week or so ago that mean absolutely nothing to you now, you understand why writing tasks as though you’re delegating to a future self can really help you put together a more useful to-do list. If you’ve got your own tricks for writing brief-yet-complete tasks, let’s hear them in the comments.