Book Review: One Minute To Do List

New Academy Publishers – Softcover $12.95, Kindle version $7.95 – Copyright 2011

It seems that being busy is a status symbol for our overscheduled society. All of us have increasingly intense workloads with no time to actually get things done.

This overscheduling, coupled with the cascade of information that is hurled at us daily from multiple media sources makes it easier than ever to feel overwhelmed.

According to author Michael Linenberger, there is a way through the barrage of work, information, and commitments: the tried and true "to-do" list.

It's hard to imagine a book that could improve on the concept, however. In fact, "listing your work and working your list" is still practiced by most of us in one way, shape or form.

In "The One Minute To-Do List" Linenberger never gets too complex with his theory and how to execute it. This is what makes this book worthwhile.

Linenberger classifies to-do lists into three basic categories: Critical Now, Opportunity Now, and Over the Horizon.

– Critical Now includes tasks that are absolutely due today. It is essential that these tasks are not overrun by those in the other two categories.

– Opportunity Now tasks are items that aren't as urgent as Critical Now but are tasks you would work on now if you had the chance or opportunity.

– Over the Horizon tasks require ten days or more to accomplish and will become urgent later on.

None of this is exactly rocket science but what follows is managing these urgency zones with a series of rules that prioritize and measure urgency.

Linenberger writes, "Most people create and use to-do lists incorrectly – they do this because they emphasize the wrong things. In other words, they prioritize wrong. And the common reason for misprioritizing [sic] is being confused about the right way to measure importance."

If everything is labeled urgent, then we get bogged down and nothing is accomplished. Linenberger cuts to the chase with 114 pages of rapid-fire advice that can be read in one sitting.

The "One Minute To-Do List" is a quick, effective way to tweak your time management skills without a time-consuming overhaul. In other words, Linenberger outlines easy to follow, common sense techniques that are worth the minimal investment of what all of us value most – time.

Will it work for you over the long haul? It's difficult to say. Regardless, Linenberger's methods are worth adding to your time management regimen. Add his newly developed Android phone applications like Toodledo and one can take the science of writing a to-do list to a whole new level. Now, what was I doing?

Chris Wendel is a consultant and lender with Northern Initiative in Traverse City. Northern Initiatives is a private, non-profit community development corporation that provides entrepreneurs with access to capital, information, and new markets.