If you don’t organize your life with a list then you won’t know what is most important. Here are the problems with not knowing what is most important:

1. You spend your life doing things that don’t matter.

2. You drive yourself crazy by doing things of little importance all day long and then having to stay up late doing the things that really matter.

3. You don’t spend enough time asking yourself hard questions. Because what is a harder question than, “What is most important to me?”

I am a fiend about lists. So I was excited to try out Ta-Da List. It’s software that allows you to make linked lists. I love this because I find myself, as a list obsessive, using comment fields in Excel for extra lists. So, for example, I have a list of people to call, and then comment-field lists of what to say to each person. With Ta-Da List, I can have lists embedded in lists without my Excel jerry-rig.

Sometimes, though, when I am writing my lists, I think, gosh, this is so much detail, and I am not a detail person. I wish I had an assistant to dump this stuff on. Then I read that Bill Gates does not have a to-do list. I was surprised, but it makes sense. This is the nicest benefit I have ever heard to being rich and powerful: He can actually think something and it will get done because he is surrounded by such a wide range of competent people (who are, of course, at his beck-and-call).

Until you are Bill Gates, though, you should manage your days with a to-do list. And you should set aside time each morning to organize the list. Otherwise, you will just be reacting to what happens during the day; other peoples’ priorities will dictate your own. And then whose life are you living?