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Time Management for Creative People 4 – Avoid the ‘Sisyphus Effect’ of Endless To-do Lists


If you’ve ever had one of those days where your to-do list is longer by the evening than it was in the morning, this post is for you: Avoid the ‘Sisyphus Effect’ of Endless To-do Lists. It’s the latest in my guest series on Time Management for Creative People at Business of Design Online.

Let’s face it, Sisyphus may have had a hard time of it but at least he didn’t have to deal with e-mail.

EDIT: If you prefer watching video to reading, here’s a time management training interview in which I explain some of the key concepts from this series.

Would you like your team to be more creative and productive?

If your team could do with some help getting creative work done in the midst of the demands and distractions of the 21st-century workplace, ask me about running my popular time management training workshop Time Management for Creative People for your organisation.


  1. Thankfully, my to-do list is actually on the decrease. I think that’s a mix of focusing a little less on blogging, and a little more on my clients (which helps get the work done faster), and also a bit of an earlier start each morning.

    Off to check out that post you link to now.

  2. Thanks David, yes the work/blogging balance can be a challenge! Early mornings are part of the solution for me too.

  3. Right on. I believe daily review of priotization of tasks is equally important as well. Then keep track of effort/time input and measure their outcome.

  4. Thanks Don. i find it makes a huge difference to my day if I stop and review my workload for the day first, rather than just ploughing into something in order to ‘get going’. It usually leads to a much more productive use of my time and effort!

  5. You’re absolutely right, Mark, it would be more productive if one does a quick review of what’s MOST IMPORTANT task for the day before getting started for the day instead of “get it doing”.

    btw, did you have a chance to take a peek at my tm tool?



  6. Yes, if I don’t start the day doing what’s most important, there are plenty of opportunities to fritter it away on other things.

    Your tm tool looks interesting – I think we all use our time better when we have to account for it, even if only to ourselves.

  7. I believe using a tool or methodology is a systematic approach for doing things better and if we can do it with less stress we’re all better off.

    An instance of “less stress”, a user does not input certain data, just let him/her go or to continue because for one thing it’s not critical and for another it makes one feel bad when prompted to do otherwise.

    Another perspective regarding time is, we have to, or at least, try to think of time as a “big picture” thing, Yesterday –> Today –> Tomorrow. What we do Today is What we Invest in Tomrrow. With monetary matter, our brokers/banks do investment for us, they keep track of what’s going in that space for us (Yes, systematic). When it comes time, who track and evaluate our own investment? A lot of us need to ask this question ourselves.

    On my software end, yes, at the first glance, it looks like very limited functionality because the design is not to overwelm users with too much unneeded functionality initially…

  8. “When it comes time” in the above comment, was meant, “When it comes to time”, sorry for the inconvenience.