Master the Art of the To-Do List by Understanding How They Fail - Deepstash
Master the Art of the To-Do List by Understanding How They Fail

Master the Art of the To-Do List by Understanding How They Fail

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Master the Art of the To-Do List by Understanding How They Fail

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Dealing with to-do lists

The common struggles to conquer our to-do lists:

  • 41% of to­-do items are never completed.
  • 50% of completed to-­do items are done within a day.
  • 18% of completed to­-do items are done within an hour.
  • 10% of completed to­-do items are done within a minute.
  • 15% of the items done started as to-do items.

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Too many to-do's

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.

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How we're making to-do lists

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.

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Too much time

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.

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Interruptions and change

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. 

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  • Make more specific, actionable plans. 
  • Don't micromanage your tasks, or you'll feel unable to make adjustments.
  • Give yourself earlier deadlines. 
  • Prioritize.  It's easier to focus on 5 things and get them out of the way.
  • Be realistic about what you can do in a day.
  • Remember that interruptions will pop up.
  • Record and celebrate your small wins.

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