Who doesn’t love a good list at this time of year? I‘m gearing myself up. I’m at the stage of writing lists of the lists I’ll need for next 4 weeks…food, shopping, parties. And then when New Year hits I’ll write some more to-do lists to counteract the effects of it all. This is fine by me because there’s nothing better than the feeling of crossing something off a list. I have been known to add some already completed tasks just for the pleasure of putting a tick by them. How horrifying, then, to hear that according to Secrets of Productive People, Mark Forster argues that lists like mine hamper productivity. The main problem, he explains, is that while our time is limited, the number of things we can add to our list isn’t.  This can leave us assuaging our need to achieve by only attempting to do the things we like, adding yet more tasks and never actually addressing the important items that require disciple. As all list-addicts know, writing lists is a great excuse for doing nothing.

Forster has a suggestion: limit yourself to the 5 most important things to achieve right now, and then attempt them in order, only adding new items when you have reduced the list to 2 items, and then only 3 more.

So what is really important enough to make it into the top 5 items on your list? Here’s my suggestions (sign in and add your own to the comments section below):

  • Take time to let the people you love, know how much you love them.
  • Pray every day. See the difference it makes to get a bigger perspective.
  • Leave some things undone. Learn not to over-achieve or take on responsibilities that aren’t yours.
  • Kick leaves in a park (if you can do this walking a happy dog, all the better)
  • Smile at strangers. This can be a stressful time of year. Spread some happiness by simply being kind.