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4 ways to make your to-do list a whole lot sexier | A Life of Productivity

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4 ways to make your to-do list a whole lot sexier | A Life of Productivity
Takeaway: 4 scientifically proven ways to make your to-do list a whole lot sexier: frame the items on your list in a positive light; think about why your goals matter to you personally; divide your goals into bite-sized chunks; and create a "when-then" plan. Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutes, 37s.

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Frame items in a positive way

Frame items in a positive way

Either [our goals are] about doing more of something good, or they’re about doing less of something bad.

Goals framed in a positive, constructive way are more powerful than “avoidance goal...

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Why your goals matter

We’re more likely to get something done when we take a moment to think about why it matters to us personally.

Intrinsic goals are motivated by values meaningful to you, such as growth ...

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Create a “when-then” plan

Create a “when-then” plan

To get something done, it helps to get very specific about what we’ll do and when we’ll do it.

Setting simple implementation intentions as part of a when-then plan make people as much ...

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Make your goals smaller

Make your goals smaller

You’ll get more stuff done when you break your bigger daily goals into bite-sized chunks.

In practice, you’re basically breaking an item on your to-do list down into many mini ones.

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Make planning a habit

Make planning a habit

Some mornings we feel motivated to create a to-do list, but that is often the exception. We need to get things done, even when we feel disengaged.

Start by setting the alarm for you...

Align your to-do list with goals

  1. Break down your big goals into daily tasks. You can't add "Get in shape" to your daily to-do list, but you can add "spend 30 minutes on my bike."
  2. Consider your week as a whole. You likely have multiple goals. Some goals benefit from daily activity, while working towards others a few times a week can create momentum.
  3. Add your have-to-do tasks last. We often fill our to-do lists with have-to-do tasks that crowd the whole day. Adding it last forces you to fit your have-to-do tasks around your goal tasks.

Have one daily priority

Many of us start our mornings with dozens of things we need to get done, but later realize that we haven't crossed any of them off our lists. We did get stuff done, but none of the things we planned.

A balm against hectic days that pass without progress is to choose a single activity to prioritize and protect in your calendar. If you struggle to select your top priority, ask yourself, when you look back on your day, what do you want the highlight to be? That's your priority.

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To-Do Lists

Your to-do list can be a tool that guides you through your work, or it can be a big fat pillar of undone time bombs taunting you and your unproductive inadequacy.

If the instructions are c...

The two modes

At any point during the workday, you are in one of these modes:
  • When a project or task comes up, the steps you need to take start to form in your mind. Now you're in thinking/Boss mode. 
  • Your to-do list is a collection of those orders, which your Assistant personality will later pick up and do.
Write down the instructions in such a way that your Assistant self can just do them without having to think - or stress. 

Put Items That You're Definitely Doing

Instead of letting tasks you're not quite committed to loiter on your to-do list until you're sick of looking at them, move them off to a separate list, a holding area for Someday/Maybe items. 

Only concrete actions you're committed to completing should live on your to-do list.

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The Rule of 3

One of the best productivity rituals.

At the start of each day, fast-forward to the end of the day in your head and then ask yourself: by the time the day is done, what 3 main thin...

The weekly review

At the beginning of each week, look at the week ahead and set yourself up to get stuff done. 

Schedule blocks of time where you can hunker down on larger projects, and set reminders for what you will have to accomplish.

The daily review

At the start of each day, before settling into work, review the tasks you plan to get done and review your calendar for the day, too.

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