Da Vinci kept to-do lists too

Linked on Nov 23 at 21:50

I like to-do lists. Every day I’m either making one or maintaining one. I don’t trust my brain to remember lists, so I write them down. Big whoop, you say, and so do I. Lists are nothing special. And yet, many people don’t take advantage of lists and instead keep their to-do items in their head.

Leonardo da Vinci also made lists. A sample of one was translated and illustrated for NPR’s Robert Krulwich. While it’s a daunting to-do list, what strikes me is that, with the exception of “Draw Milan”, each item is un-ambiguous. Da Vinci details what he wants to do, and who he must speak to or where he must go to get it done. Each item is so precise, da Vinci could easily delegate most of them to someone else and have them report back to him.

The other interesting thing about da Vinci’s list is how he addresses himself in the second person. “Get Messer Fazio to show you about proportion.” Each item speaks to him, orders him even.

I wonder how many of these to-do items da Vinci finished.