Rethinking the To-Do List to Resemble Your Thought Process

to-do list The list has always come in the same form -- a vertical form with numbers of bullet points to make it easier to read. However, a list can come in any form you wish, whether that means a series of post-its on your wall or a colorful flow-chart.

Consider writing your list in sevens. Many things come in sevens -- seven days a week, seven digits in a phone number, seven seas and even seven sins. As George Miller found in a formative psychology paper, people actually best remember things when they are arranged in sets of seven. Writing your list in sets of seven will help you better remember all the things you need to get done.

Then, try free-forming your lists instead of writing in verticals. Our minds don't think in such a rigid way, so try something a little more fluid. Ben Schott, author of Schott's Original Miscellany, suggests creating a diagram of clouds, starting in the middle of your page. Items and tasks get written down in spatial relation to each other, and clouds get created based on these relations. Basically, it's a mind-map displaying everything you have to complete in your day. Instead of having a structure to work with beforehand, the mind map helps you figure things out as you go, finding a structure and making connections as your list items are being written down.

What are you favorite list-making tactics?