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The Developer's Code by Ka Wai Cheung

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Essay 22Keep a Personal To-Do List

It’s amazing how sometimes the simplest tool can make us substantially more productive. Enter the personal to-do list.

A personal to-do list is not—I repeat, not—like a project timeline or a Gantt chart. Those documents serve a group. They are too sweeping for a single person. They make projections about the broad scope of a project rather than lay the path for the next couple of paces ahead of us. While they are useful “big-picture” documents, they don’t help us get organized.

A personal to-do list is also not an overflowing email inbox. Using our emails to remind us of things we have to do is futile. Email is a smorgasbord of fragmented conversations and questions interspersed with unprioritized tasks, ...

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