RE: Your To-Do List

Subject: RE: Your To-Do List
From: "Dori Green" <dgreen -at- associatedbrands -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 10:09:36 -0500

A word of caution about to-do lists -- it's possible to end up spending more
time managing the to-do list than getting stuff done!

When I thought about this topic a little, I realized that I use my Access
document database as my to-do structure through the "status" field. As soon
as the need for a document is identified, it's given a unique ID number and
entered into the database.

On a daily basis I call up the "create", "revise", "in process", and
"approved" reports. They tell me what needs to be done right away. At the
end of the week I add the "distribute" report.

When I've started a new or changed document, the status is changed from
"create" or "revise" to "in process". From there it goes to "out for
approval" and when it comes back from the approvers the status is changed to

At the end of the week I go through the documents on the "distribute"
report, change the status back to "approved", and mark the date distributed
in the "comments" field.

Not tremendously elegant, but it keeps this lone writer on a huge project
and giant culture change kinda sorta sane. I'm also relentless about using
a "hold for" status (, ...samples,, ...schedule), and about
NOT ACCEPTING vague verbal change requests. Yes, those are still being
delivered even by my direct Document Control team members who do know
better. I'm careful to keep my tone patient and friendly as I tell them
again that there is a change request process and I have to insist that
everybody use it -- locate the document that needs changing (don't make me
try to guess), make a copy, mark up the copy, add their name in case I have
questions, and put it in my IN basket. Do not slip me an offhand comment in
the ladies room and expect anything to happen.

This was exactly what I needed to think about and document, just in case I
should win the proverbial lottery or (more likely) spin out on an icy road.
This is the first draft, but it's the essential info. This has worked so
well for me (and I've been using it for so long), I hadn't seriously thought
that it might be useful info a) for writers who are faced with similar crazy
situations where a traditional "todo" would be 47 pages long; or b) for
anybody who might have to pick up where I dropped the project for whatever

Thanks for the nudge that got it onto paper!

Dori Green


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Re: Your To-Do List: From: Greg Holmes

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