Thursday, April 14, 2011

TO THINK LIST

Numerous articles and books have been written on "How to be an effective manager?".  And almost every piece mentions about having a "TO- DO-LIST".  Great.  To do lists work best if they are religiously followed.  Not on my list sorry I have not time for you.  Otherwise these lists are useless.  I too have taken my shot at them and you can read them below.  Those who deal with creativity are always challenged with these lists but they eventually manage them.  However in this post it is all about managing a Think List.  OK. Is that something new?  No not quite.  So what is a Think List?  And Is it another list that I have to maintain when I don't believe in a To-do-list?  Please stay with me to get full idea about think list.

When we are dealing with challenges and solving problems that make our lives easier then quite often we are facing with problems or concepts of which we are not sure so we need to think more to get a better understanding.  For example,  You are working on designing a desktop table out of wood.  And there are different designs to choose from and some design concepts are really bugging you but you aren't quite sure what it is. Hence you need time to think them thoroughly before you decide.  And you can't decide until you are sure.  I know that is not the best example but hang on for sec.

A more better scenario I can think of is a personal one where I have to implement login feature in a website.  And literally there are dozen ways to implement it.  Right now I have to get it done without thinking which one is the best approach.  I am half way through and I reach a point where I discovered a new way that people are talking on forums.  At this point I am not sure whether the new approach is going to work or not. I don't even know how much time it will take to learn and implement it.  And I don't want to waste time on it only to find that it is not suitable for our site.  Hence this is something which should be scheduled under a think list.

One might argue that this could fall easily under TO-DO-LIST why bother creating one more list.  True.  Even I don't want to maintain a Think List on paper and keep doing it.  But here is one thing I have found.  We don't allocate specific time for thinking.  It is something that we do it continuously.  Even while we are driving.  Yes. Thinking process needs to be organized in a way that addresses our problems.  Problems act like distraction, distraction and even more distraction.  We need to train our subconscious mind to think continuously.  Trust me sometimes I have found solutions to my problems when I am half asleep.

People who are doing research and those who are super engrossed into one thing can't think about other things.  They have mastered the art of getting the most out of their mind and their time.  All kinds of distractions are avoided.  They just keep thinking about the stuff that needs to be done and that needs to be solved.  It is not a rocket science really. Keeping your mind from what not to think is equally important as what to think.  I have noticed back in those day when I was in college, I used to think utter non-sense.  We think crazy stuff which doesn't make any sense.  So make a list of what to think and what not to think.  Don't think about competition or your appearance.  Since that's not the point.  Think about what you care.

Update:
Previous posts on To do lists
1. How to follow a to do list?
2. Do You Have A Stop Doing List?
3. How To Make One To Do List That Works?
4. On Productivity
5. Power of Sticky Notes