Cue the cheesy horror flick music, because this post is full of the creepy-factor. Truth is, I bet your task list, like mine, is infested. With zombies.

terrible drivers, really

No to-do lists, and they aren't good urban planners, either

Now as we all know, zombies happen for one of two reasons–either an outbreak of some sort of hand-waving virus that really explains nothing but the sheer random animosity the universe has for human beings (but thematically addresses our fear that the higher our population, the less significance we have as individuals), or the disruption of arcane forces that have existed from time immemorial to keep those at rest, resting in peace (thus addressing the importance of a natural order of things and the desire of order over chaos). The same thematic desire we express via the modern-day shamanism of the To-Do list.

With My To-Do List, I Smite Thee, Undead

The talismanic purpose of the to-do list lies in its effectiveness (as does any ritual item–the One Ring would just be a pretty bauble played with by a gremlin if it didn’t actually do the job of controlling all the kingdoms now, would it?). The best to-do lists are the ones that have a job to do, and do it well, in service to the planners that wield them.

The best planners aren’t necessarily the ones with the most items listed on their to-do list. They’re not the ones who plan with the most granularity (Action item: walk downstairs, CHECK! Action item: pour cup of coffee, CHECK!). They’re not even the ones who have the most items ticked off their to-do list. The best planners are those who have the right amount of to-do list items on their to-do list, and the right amount of time in which to do them.

Be Smart: Give Your To-Do A Brain

A good to-do list needs to do a few things right in order to be effective. A good to-do must:

  • Focus your energies, not scatter them
  • Guide your future activities, not organize your past ones
  • Work with your schedule, not send it into a tailspin
  • Identify tasks, not habits
  • Prioritize your tasks, not create a constant emergency state
  • Can be cleared in a normal work day most times

Surviving the zombie apocalypse takes courage, planning, quick reflexes, good aim, and brains (naturally). You have to leave behind who you were before the dead rose and started munching the living. You have to think ahead in gathering resources and fortifying defenses. You have to ensure your victories and value them for what they accomplish. You have to prioritize day-to-day survival while you plan ahead for eventually reclaiming zombie-free zones. You have to use–but not over-use–the survivors and resources that you have, and in the best way possible.

Summoning the Dead

It may be tempting to summon the dead to pad out your to-do list with items that you can immediately tick off directly after creation. Who doesn’t like to see a long series of checked items crossed out because they’re jobs well done? Or filling your to-do with those tasks you know you have to get around to eventually, but provide no urgency or consequence. A survival-guide to-do of “look left, look right” can give you a sense of satisfaction, but if you need a to-do to tell you to do that, you’re going to be zombie food within the hour.

You may think these to-do zombies are harmless, but they may be sabotaging your ability to plan. If you’re padding your to-do list with “gimmes” like that, you’re losing the effectiveness of having a to-do list. Zombies make for great action flicks, but lousy action items.

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She’s absolutely sure he’s not the marrying kind…

He’s absolutely sure she’s right…

But he’s still going to prove her wrong.

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