The Surprising History of the To-Do List and How to Design One That Actually Works

to do list examplesThe list is the origin of culture. Wherever you look in cultural history, you will find lists. – Umberto Eco

When I was a kid, I read a book called The Listmaker. It’s about a young girl who uses lists to organize and make sense of her life. At the time I didn’t read any more into it besides the fact that this was an odd hobby for a pre-teen girl to spend so much time on.

Now, although I don’t remember the book that well, I do see much more significance in the humble list—especially after researching where they come from and why we make lists.

As I researched this post I realised how hard it is to pinpoint the origin of something as simple and widespread as the list (to-do or otherwise), but I did find out some interesting stories about how lists have been used in the past and why we find them useful in everyday life.

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A Simple Guide to Better Focus and Concentration: Lessons From a Lion Tamer

better focus and better concentration scienceOver a century ago, a lion tamer named Clyde Beatty learned a lesson that is so important that it impacts nearly every area your life today.

What was that lesson?

Keep reading to find out what a lion tamer can teach you about how to focus, concentrate better, and live a healthier life.

The Lion Tamer Who Survived

Clyde Beatty was born in Bainbridge, Ohio in 1903. When he was a teenager, he left home to join the circus and landed a job as a cage cleaner. In the years that followed, Beatty quickly progressed from a lowly cage boy to a popular entertainer.

Beatty became famous for his “fighting act” in which he would tame fierce wild animals. At one point, Beatty’s act included a segment where he brought lions, tigers, cougars, and hyenas into the circus ring all at once and tamed the entire group.

But here’s the most impressive feat of all…

In an era when the majority of lion tamers died in the ring, Beatty lived into his 60s. In the end, it was cancer that took his life, not a lion.

How did he manage to survive? Thanks to a simple idea.

Clyde Beatty was one of the first lion tamers to bring a chair into the circus ring.

Here’s what happened…

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How to Stop Procrastinating on Your Goals by Using the Seinfeld Strategy

Stop procrastinating SeinfeldJerry Seinfeld is one of the most successful comedians of all‐time.

He is regarded as one of the “Top 100 Comedians of All–Time” by Comedy Central. He was also the co–creator and co–writer of Seinfeld, the long–running sitcom which has received numerous awards and was claimed to have the “Top TV Episode of All–Time” as rated by TV Guide.

According to Forbes magazine, Seinfeld reached his peak in earnings when he made $267 million dollars in 1998. (Yes, that was in one year. No, that’s not a typo.) A full 10 years later, in 2008, Seinfeld was still pulling in a cool $85 million per year.

By almost any measure of wealth, popularity, and critical acclaim, Jerry Seinfeld is among the most successful comedians, writers, and actors of his generation.

However, what is most impressive about Seinfeld’s career isn’t the awards, the earnings, or the special moments — it’s the remarkable consistency of it all. Show after show, year after year, he performs, creates, and entertains at an incredibly high standard. Jerry Seinfeld produces with a level of consistency that most of us wish we could bring to our daily work.

Compare his results to where you and I often find ourselves. We want to create, but struggle to do so. We want to exercise, but fail to find motivation. Wanting to achieve our goals, but — for some reason or another — we still procrastinate on them.

What’s the difference? What strategies does Jerry Seinfeld use to beat procrastination and consistently produce quality work? What does he do each day that most people don’t?

I’m not sure about all of his strategies, but I recently discovered a story that revealed one of the secrets behind Seinfeld’s incredible productivity, performance, and consistency.

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5 Twitter Powered News Apps To Reduce Clutter

Recently I have seen a fantastic amount of great new Apps, which are all going in a completely new direction. One I think is very useful. They take your Twitter and Facebook stream and order your news in a social savvy way – clutterfree!

Here are my 5 picks for you and I hope the way they aggregate news is equally helpful for you as it is for me.


1# StrawberryJam – Only the best news in your stream

I have to say, with and me it was love at first sight both because of its design and functionality. It shows you all news of your Twitter stream ordered by most mentioned. So it will literally take you a few seconds to see what’s hot and most discussed. You can currently signup for invites.

Best Bit: You can not only order your own stream by most mentioned. You can do the same with lists, #tags or simple searches. Pure awesomeness.

Update: StrawberryJam is no longer functional :(

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6 steps to complete distraction on my way to productivity

Organised chaos or easily distracted?

Today I wanted to Buffer a few tweets from my Twitter stream. Yet this is not quite how my venture turned out.

Here is what happened instead:


1.) Should I Buffer Tweets?

I wanted to Buffer a few tweets from, and found one interesting user with a blog about Social Media and Web development. So I thought about getting in touch and dropping him an email if he was interested in a guestpost.

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