Are you a list maker? I am.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed and pulled in many directions, my first instinct is often to uncap a fancy pen and create a to-do list. These lists help me set my chaos in order and make a plan for how to proceed. Writing things down gives myself permission to focus on one thing, instead of keeping everything active in my mind because I’m worried that I’ll forget something important. Another benefit? I think we can all agree that there are very few things more life-affirming and satisfying than crossing an item off of a to-do list. If you are a list maker too, I have a new twist for you to consider.

For my daily work management, I have implemented what I call a “to-talk” list that complements my to-do list. The idea is very simple, I create a heading for each person that I work with regularly. When an issue that affects them arises or I think of something that I need to discuss with them, I simply add it to their bullet list. You could, of course, just add “talk to Sarah about the meeting” to your to-do list, but I find that it works better for me to group ALL the things that I need to talk to Sarah about so that when I see her, I don’t overlook any of my discussion topics. I use this technique when I seek someone out, but I also use it when they come to see me. After we have discussed their issue, I check my to-talk list before they leave my office and bring up any other important subjects with them. In this way, I make efficient use of our time together and prevent things slipping first my mind and then right through the cracks. Maybe this idea can help your work management too?


My name is Anissa Stansfield. I'm a Manager for a large manufacturing company in Southern California. Although I started as an entry-level engineer, I have since worked my way up and now manage a department of 50 talented engineers working on a variety of complex and exciting projects. I have learned a lot through my experiences, and so I started this blog to share them with all of you. I hope that my thoughts and perspectives help you on your successful journey toward your goals.


  1. Great idea! I do use a list like this sometimes, but it would be smart to implement this as part of my everyday routine.

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