Monday, July 27, 2009

Lists Make Women Better Managers?

My Monday morning routine at work always starts out with a review of the previous to-do list and a short planning session of action items that I need to accomplish for the day. Lists get consolidated and new items get added on. In my college-ruled 8x11 notebook, I have Post-It flags taped onto the back flap for easy access and I color code my pages by "To-Dos" (short and long term), "1:1 sessions" and references. Though I don't usually write this on my list, the first item is always to get through the inbox and do a quick sort according to the Getting Things Done Method of answer now, monitor or delete. I was already doing this before taking the GTD course at work, but now there's a name for what I was doing.

Does all this organization make me a better manager though? I agree with Carol Smith in her interview "No Doubts: Women are Better Managers" with the NY Times that it's not the we make lists, but rather that we will DO what's on our to-do list that makes us more effective.

"I have been in this career for many years and I have seen, and this is a generalization, that women are better list-makers. They will do their to-do list. They will prioritize their to-do list. They will get through their to-do list. Maybe it’s because we do shopping lists. And if we have a problem — again, as a generalization — we will confront the problem and deal with it head-on.

I think that has really made me good at managing people, because I think they always know that they’re going to get a real answer."

Now back to work...


  1. hmmmm...i don't make to do lists, so does that technically mean that my to-do list is always "done"? :)

  2. This must be where I'm going wrong. I'm not much of a list maker!

  3. @Ted - I guess that depends on if your wife has a "Honey Do List" for you. :-)