To-do lists are evil. Schedule everything


Yeah… you’ve gotta be fairly high up professionally (or in a very decentralized office environment) to actually have much say in your own daily tasks.


“Now that you look at the whole picture you’re able to get something productive out of every free hour you have in your workday.”

I think this way of thinking is what’s truly evil.

Drones, remember to be productive at all times!


Schedules (at least hourly ones) are for managers and other people with tasks that largely consist of communication and ‘chunkable’ work.

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Not necessarily. In some companies, once you earn the boss’s confidence you get a long leash.

I like the part about starting from the finish time and planning backwards. I never thought of it but when I’m on task it’s exactly how I do it, because it is efficient, and I am very very lazy.

Exactly. Managers are all about scheduling meetings and such that you can give defined times to. Getting work done isn’t that simple. Tasks often turn out to have hidden complexities that weren’t obvious at the start. In science (for example), people love putting timelines in their proposals, and while they might help them to get funded, they don’t really work in practice.


I’ve never understood the mania over working long hours. Most of the time at work I am bored out of my skull. I spend about three hours a day being actually productive. And I get a lot done.

Yes, during the period where I had meetings day in day out hours and hours of meetings I was less productive, but generally that is not my life.

If you can’t get your work done in 8 hours, you are pretending to be busy to impress your boss.


It works for me, obviously it will work for everyone else.


Meh. My job is mostly sitting around, just in case something important breaks and Giant Software, Inc., starts hemorrhaging money. At my most cynical, I wonder if we’re really here just so that Giant Software, Inc., won’t be sued for not having someone sitting around watching nothing happen.

On the other hand, scheduling things, rather than creating a to-do list, might be a good way to structure my days off. This is quite similar to how I structured my last few days off:


To do lists are tactical, schedules are strategic. Some times you have to go tactical. There is no shame in that.


My job entails building large earth moving equipment…in the average 8 hour day I’m doing something 6.5 hours or more. My boss on the other hand does a lot of watching and emailing.

You know surfing BB doesn’t really create value in my life…at least nothing tangible. I mean it creates dopamine and other happy brain chemicals that make me want to spend hours surfing the net… Damn biology.


Checklists are tactical, to do lists are strategic, the process of scheduling is the correlation of forces and means, and the result is the echelonment of forces in depth. So what is desanty?

Good career advice: Write a book of “good career advice” where you propose a “revolutionary” idea for increasing productivity that the wealthy will push their middle managers to push on their worker drones.

Scheduling works if you’ve been hired to do a job that consists of discrete, predictable tasks. All of us worker bees in these positions that involve creativity, complex problem-solving, and training other people to do their jobs are at the mercy of the often absurd scenarios that get thrown at us. Try telling your boss that you’re not going to fix that significant issue if you can’t do it in an hour because you scheduled a different task for the following hour.

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The brother of John Galt, I believe.

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You missed out “…and if it doesn’t work for you, then clearly you’re the problem.”


I also have never met anyone who lives like this. Do people like that exist?

Not in the real world, in my opinion.

There’s a thing in office environments, especially for the men, to come in early and stay late as a kind of badge of honor. I had one boss I know for a fact (because he admitted it to me) was working on his novel in the evening, but since we were in documentation no one else knew that. He appeared to be working hard at his job, typing away in Word.

I had another boss who was single, near retirement. He spent most of his day checking his stock accounts. But he came in early every day.

There were a few managers I’ve known who were genuinely busy, usually those supporting customer service and installation, or those who traveled extensively - but I think there is a certain amount of time killing involved in travel anyhows.

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I agree completely. I get accolades for being in the office and hour earlier than most. I write code for data-driven applications and websites for work, but that first hour I’m working on a personal passion project. It all looks the same to anyone walking by. That’s pretty much the only part of my schedule that I stick to.

I also have a lot of colleagues who socialize and pad the beginnings and ends of meeting with leisurely chatter. At five they start to scramble and really do some work for about an hour and a half.