At work, I seldom list the next action I have to take. Writing things like “modify procedure” just doesn’t cut it, especially when something I run across may force me to not change the procedure at all, but some other bit of code. I generally list what I am trying to accomplish: “populate topic filter” as an example. This is very common within the programming world, and makes it easier for me to jump around between tasks without forgetting what I was doing.
The article is right – this method would not work when the actions to solve the underlying problem are already set forth. In the example given: “Problem: refrigerator empty” would spawn “Make list, go shopping, put groceries away”, with little or no variation. But for problems we have never encountered before, listing problems instead of minuscule actions may get us over the hump of procrastination or stalled thinking.
I can see the value as applied to what I do in my career, but I am having a hard time making the jump over into my home life. What sort of creative project might be better viewed as a series of discrete problems to be solved? I don’t know.