Most everyone is familiar with the value of making daily to do lists, but today I’d like to explore a type of to do list that might seem counterproductive at first glance but is actually a great productivity tool worth utilizing.

I’m talking about the concept of the Maybe/Someday List that David Allen promotes in his productivity book Getting Things Done. 

Let’s explore:

  • What is a Someday/Maybe List?
  • Why have a Someday/Maybe List?
  • Examples of my someday/maybe lists:
  • How I use these lists

What is a Someday/Maybe List?

  • It is a to do list you may want to complete but for some reason is on hold or possibly a list of ideas you have but are not sure what to do with them yet
  • Items on this list typically do not have an action plan …yet
  • It could have a timeline as far out as a bucket list, or as soon as this month

Why have a Someday/Maybe List?

  • They help you deal with distractions. You now have a place to capture ideas that run through your mind as you are working on immediate projects. No more running down rabbit holes only to be surprised that you’ve lost valuable time.
  • Projects that have to be on hold do not belong on your active to do list because it will bog you down mentally to keep seeing it on your list and not being finished. It may even subconsciously make you avoid your to do list.
  • It will free up your creative thinking because you now have a place to park all those great ideas you have but aren’t ready to commit to yet. 

Examples of my someday/maybe lists:

  • Books I want to read
  • Topics I want to write about
  • Youtube videos I want to go back to
  • Places I want to go
  • Hobbies I’d like to try

How I use these lists:

  • Onenote is great: I can make each idea its own note that has plenty of room to add information as needed, and tag it “Someday/maybe” to be easily searched later.
  • Notes app on my phone is used for lists I might need to reference while out, such as books I want to read. When I find myself in a used bookstore I can access my list on the go.
  • I use pictures when I can, because my brain will process a photo much more quickly than text.
  • I use Word documents for blog ideas and videos I want to watch and have that doc in an open tab for reference as I write.

Don’t forget to review your lists! I enjoy reviewing my someday/maybe lists and updating them as I get new ideas.  How often you review them depends on your goals. Some lists I review weekly, and others monthly.

Now you have a place to file every “I want to do that someday” idea that pops in your head as you are working on the task at hand! Have fun with it, my friend!

-Jan Jones

Check out this short video with David Allen