Strange title, eh? No, I'm not talking about participating in some sort of strange walk competition. I'm talking about how creative people can use to-do lists as a useful tool to get creating.
Much of the time we creative folks fall into a few traps when making lists. This turns a tool for clearing your mind so it can focus on creating into a whip. A whip us creative types use for flogging ourselves, destroying our energy and creativity.
What are some things you can do to turn the whip of a list into a gentle prod, a discouraging thing into an encouraging one? How can you list right?
One: Make your lists before you start creating. This clears your mind.
Two: Set a time limit on your list. For a day to day list, don't include a month's worth of stuff. Or a year's worth of stuff. Or a lifetime. At most, have a couple of weeks.
Three: Recognize that everything takes longer than any of us would like. Remember that sometimes you have to sleep and eat and goof off . Work to expand the time it'll take to do the things on your list. For me, a rule of three times as long is often correct.
Four: Leave off your goals for your creative work. Listing how many pages you want to write, or how much you want to practice your musical instrument, or...you get the idea, turns the creative work into a job.
NOTE: If all of the above makes you crazed, about to scream at your computer, wanting to write me a nasty review/comment/letter/FB post, then...ignore it all. Maybe you're not one of those people who can not make, much less use, a list. Or: try just writing list-type stuff down to get it away from nibbling on your focus. Write in a notebook or keep it even less formal: scraps of paper. In a pinch, on your hand.
Remember: a list is only a tool, don't use it to beat yourself up! Use it to increase your creativity!