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Strikethru: Paper and pen might be the ultimate to do list, after all

Sometimes nothing beats the satisfaction of drawing a thick line through an item on your to do list. The Strikethru method was made for nerds like us.



Time to nerd out

If you’re a “to do” list type (and if you’re running a small business, I must assume that you are), you may or may not be aware that there are productivity nerds out there inventing entire systems for managing your to do list.

Here at AG, we’ve come across a simple but effective method for managing your to do list created by Reddit user, Chris. It’s called Strikethru, and for those of you already hip to productivity methods, you can think of it as a combination of the Get Things Done (GTD) method and the bullet method.



Strikethru assumes that having only one to do list is insufficient. After all, you’ve got short and long term goals, and tasks that are totally unrelated to one another. If you only have one list that includes the household chores you need to achieve today, the work deadline for next week, and an event you need to attend later this month, your list will quickly become overwhelming and impossible to navigate.

So here’s how Strikethru works: first, you’ll need a notebook dedicated to your lists. Once you’ve chosen your notebook, create a Live List. The Live List includes only the items you are going to work on today. It should include no more than nine items – because let’s face it, that’s all you can really handle anyway.

The Dump list for your random “aha!” moments

The aptly named Dump list is where you jot down those inspirations that hit you at random, that you need to record so that you don’t forget them, but that aren’t crucial to work on today.

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When you’re in a work meeting and suddenly remember that your sister’s birthday is next week, jotting “get birthday gift” into your work notes isn’t going to help you, especially if you aren’t planning on shopping until the weekend.

Put it in The Dump – it’ll be there later, when you can actually get around to it.

Go further with The Vault

Don’t work on tasks directly from The Dump though. Instead, you do a nightly review of your Dump list to generate tomorrow’s Live List. It’s also a good idea to more extensively review about once per month to update and revise The Dump.

For a more advanced version, you can add The Vault. This is where you create lists that are organized into categories, but that are not your Live List. For example, you could create shopping lists, or lists of longer term goals. I myself currently have a Shopping list, a Winter list, and a Household Repairs list.

If checking off a box isn’t enough

Lastly, you can create a Calendar section to organize your daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
Strikethru is so named because of the satisfaction you get from drawing a thick black line through a completed tasks, which Chris argues is more gratifying than a simple check mark. In his words: “Striking you to-dos off a list can be deeply rewarding and therapeutic.”

Chris has an entire website dedicated to Strikethru that explains the method in detail.

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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