The common struggles to conquer our to-do lists:
Most of us put way too much stuff on our lists. And that puts us on the path to failure.
Overstuffing our lists causes a continuous thrum of worry in our heads. And the worry that results from having too many conflicting goals causes our productivity as well as our physical and mental health to suffer.
We're just not good at constructing our to-do lists. It's not as simple as it looks.
Many of us aren't any good at formulating the tasks on the list, failing to think through steps and plans, so that when we're faced with too many tasks and too few suggestions on how to proceed, we don't complete tasks. Remember that the to-do list string around your finger is for you to make better plans using the list.
You give yourself too much time to complete the tasks on your to-do list. But the more time you give yourself to finish something, the less likely it is that you will finish in that timeframe.
Research shows that when people do complete tasks, they are done quickly.
We can't predict the many interruptions that happen in our day.
The most common reason for failure to get through a to-do list relates to unplanned tasks, such as unscheduled calls, e-mails, and meetings.
The To-Do list is almost a sacred technique of organizing your day and eventually your life. They lessen the day’s anxiety, provide a structure to power-through and are written proof of our productivity.
As the Zeigarnik Effect proves, we obsess over unfinished tasks and remember stuff which is incomplete or pending. The To-Do list comes to the rescue and saves us from a lot of stress.
If it’s not a priority, it should not be on the list. Follow the 3-3-3 system when writing out your list:
When formulating a to-do, the onus is on your Boss self to make it as easy as possible for your Assistant self to get the job done.
Arm your Assistant self with all the details she needs to get your work done.
For example, if you have to make a phone call, include the name or number.