What your "to do" list says about you

November 6, 2007 12:00:00 AM PST
"To-do" lists -- why do we have them? Discover what your "to-do" list says about you.

From groceries to soccer practice, we create "to do" lists for everything and anything. Why do we need them and what do they say about us? In the book "To Do List: From Buying Milk To Finding A Soul Mate, What Our Lists Reveal About Us," the author, Sasha Cagen, looks at these questions and more.

The "Five Surprising To-Do List Facts"

  1. 83% still prefer the tactile experience of writing their lists with pen and paper.
      The visceral pleasure of crossing things off cannot be underestimated. And people often feel more accountable when a list is in their own handwriting.

  2. 29% have written at least part of their lists in code.
      The most common codes were from women who don't want the boss or co-workers to walk by and see they were buying feminine hygiene products. "Tampons," "birth control" or "maxi pads" equal T, BC, and MP.

  3. 50% admitted to writing down tasks they have already done, then triumphantly crossing them off.
      That way, they have a more complete picture of everything they've done, plus another opportunity to cross something off. It's sort of insane how much we love crossing things off.

  4. Ideal mate lists are more popular than ever. 51% have made a list describing their ideal mate.
      But only 38% think these lists are useful in finding or evaluating a partner. How good is good enough? Many of the people who contributed dream mate lists said 70% was the threshold. If someone fulfilled fewer than 70% of the desired traits, they would say, "Let's just be friends."

  5. More people cross off tasks (66%) than check off (21%).
      4% write a checkmark, and 5% do nothing at all (let it be). Very odd.

List Slam
People will read their own lists tonight at Mrs. Dalloway's in Berkeley at 7:30 PM.
2904 College Avenue
Berkeley, CA 94704
Phone: (510) 704-8222
Web site: www.mrsdalloways.com

Web sites:
Sasha Cagen's website: www.sashacagen.com

Sasha Cagen's blog: www.todolistblog.blogspot.com

A profile of the book from the Simon and Schuster website: www.simonsays.com