How a media boss turns their to-do list into a power move

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The to-do list has turned into a small industry, with special notebooks (see the “Weekly Action Pad”) and experts and apps. People have a love-hate relationship with to-do lists – they’re either enemies of productivity or old stalwarts for getting things done – but Kate Lewis, the Chief Content Officer of Hearst Magazines, takes a different, more freewheeling approach to her list.

As she tells The Cut, she writes a detailed to-do list weekly, in “eight-point font. It’s a tremendously overwhelming thing.”


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And then?

“Then I throw it out. I figure whatever I can remember from what I’ve written down is what I really have to do, and everything else is kind of bullshit. It’s so good. For so long I had notebooks and downloaded to-do list apps, and as soon as I wrote everything in there, I was mad. So I was like, okay, I’m going to try a new approach, and this has been very effective for me. If you fall off the list, sorry!”

Sounds like the go-with-the-flow approach is a great way for fending off resentment for the pile of work that’s waiting for you – and it’s not like you’re going to forget about that big meeting or lunch anyway. And who really needs another to-do app or to learn how to execute another new type of to-do listing anyway? Toss out your notebooks, everyone – and don’t be offended if you’re the one that gets dropped off an agenda or two!