Cross it off?

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This is a bit arcane, but it crossed my mind the other day on the subject of to-dos: do you cross off the items in your list, or check them off?

On the one hand, there’s something viscerally satisfying about a good, thick line through an already accomplished task (and I often get more exuberant and do a sort of multi-line, back-and-forth scrawl). On the other hand, too many lines and you risk obscuring the remaining tasks on your list. With checkmarks, you can see where you’re going as well as where you’ve been. But there’s some part of my mind that can’t consider a job truly done until it’s out of my vision, too.

What do you think?

18 thoughts on “Cross it off?

  1. I cross them off, all the way! I usually end up having to do a bunch of things that weren’t on my list, so I will add them to the list and immediately cross them off to make myself feel more accomplished! 😉

  2. I put a check mark in front of it when the task is completed. If I draw a line through it, that means the item has been removed from my list for whatever reason: it’s no longer relevant, I decided not to do that task after all, etc.

  3. I check mark and date it. I’ve found that I often refer back to completed items and wonder when I did it (swiss cheese memory syndrome). I’ve also been known to highlight completed tasks. I love having a page of solid yellow.

  4. I always cross things off – it gives me a satisfied feeling to obliterate the item from the page with one or more lines through it (the number of lines is proportional to the relief I feel at having accomplished the task). And I rewrite my to-do list at the end of every week so things don’t get too messy (unless I have a really busy week).

  5. I actually use squares (with Rhodia grid paper) and use a series of statuses. A diagonal line means I’ve started the item, bottom filled in is almost done (just waiting for approval), and box filled is complete.

    In addition, a canceled item has an X in it, and a delegated item is full with an upward-pointing arrow protruding from the right of the box.

    This means at a glance I can see the status of all my tasks without having to rewrite my task list to clean it up.

  6. I am in the minority it seems. I never, ever strike through. I make a little box and I check it off. It can’t just be a check, there has to be a box, too. I don’t know why, but if I had to guess I would say that scratching thru seems a bit messy to me and I refer back to my planners and to do lists for year-end and quarterly reports. I like to know what was going on at a particular time.

  7. Cross off with one or two lines. With the check mark, I feel like it doesn’t suffice. I have to cross them off to get them off my attention and mind.

  8. I usually check the item off the to-do list. But, I agree with those above who said it is satisfying to put a line through the task or item-needed. On calendars where several weeks are in view, I will put a wavy line through the week in highlighter. In a journal I will occasionally add task I’ve already completed just to victoriously check it off (and later when reviewing the journal I’ll see what has been done — or not done).

  9. I cross off with a wavy line ~~~~~~~ sometimes a few wavy lines back and forth, but never enough that it obscures the task enough to make it unreadable. Why? I have no idea. But it works for me. Interesting topic!

  10. I particularly like a C12 idea of ’emphasis’. Cross through the item with a red pen (assuming the written text is black). It emphasises wonderfully, or in this case ‘crosses through’ text without making it illegible. And looks good too!


  11. I assign each item a number of points based on how much time I think it’ll take (extra points for things I really don’t want to do), and I fill in the checkboxes with a different colored pencil each day. I usually print out one to-do list per week, but sometimes I’ll do a special one for the weekend if I have a lot to do.

  12. I tick them off — actually, I choose notebooks with squares instead of lines for exactly that reason. Which may be a little over the top, but it works for me.

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