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These Seven To-Do List Mistakes Could Be Derailing Your Productivity

Including Someday Items

Aspirational tasks, like writing a book, don’t belong on a to-do list; instead, create a separate bucket list. 

Daily to-do lists should be focused. If you have a big project you want to complete, you can put it on your to-do list if you chunk it out into smaller, more attainable tasks.

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These Seven To-Do List Mistakes Could Be Derailing Your Productivity

These Seven To-Do List Mistakes Could Be Derailing Your Productivity

https://www.fastcompany.com/40521670/these-seven-to-do-list-mistakes-could-be-derailing-your-productivity

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Writing The List In The Morning

Although it might feel natural to create your to-do list first thing in the morning, it's too late.
Writing the list at the end of the day allows you to leave work behind and transition into personal time. 

Including Too Many Tasks

Ideally, create a ‘top three’ tasks at the beginning of your to-do list. 

Long lists are a problem because most people aren’t aware that “we only have about three to six good hours of work in us each day.”

People also tend to underestimate how long a task takes. 

Treating Each Item Equally

If it’s not a priority, it should not be on the list. Follow the 3-3-3 system when writing out your list:

  • Delete three of the items since they probably aren’t that important.
  • Delegate three of the items to someone else, as they are not the best use of your time or talents. 
  • Do three of the items that are the highest priority.

Not Being Specific

Be as specific as you can be, so that when you’re taking on a task on the fly, you can just get it done. For example, instead of writing “expense report” on your to-do list, write “enter receipts into spreadsheet.”

And skip the vague-sounding action words, such as “plan,” “implement,” or “develop” from your list of tasks. 

Using The Same List Until It’s Done

Every day changes, so what you did today is not what you will do tomorrow. And what you think you are going to do tomorrow may change before today is over.

Instead, create a fresh list for each day. 

Not Linking Your List And Calendar

“If you have a full calendar and a full to-do list that aren’t connected, you’ll never have time to take action on your to-do list, short of robbing yourself of sleep, family time, weekend relaxation, or vacation.”

Instead, block out time on your calendar to take action on your to-do list items.

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To-Do Lists: The Right Way To Write

Studies show that our mind performs better when we use written to-do lists. Here are some ways to make them more effective:

  1. List entries should be detailed, having a clear purpose.
  2. Paper and pen lists, preferably in a dairy, work best.
  3. Make the work schedule realistic, factoring in all the time that is wasted gossiping or on social media.
  4. Do not list heavy, unworkable projects(A: Climb Mount Everest) as they would never be done. Break them into small, actionable items.
In need of a makeover

A to-do list can be helpful but is often not used successfully. If you end the day with things undone or if you regularly carry tasks forward, you need a to-do list makeover.

Get clear on what's important
  • Most people are unaware of their priorities. Our priorities are the things that are most important to us right now. Not serving them is non-negotiable.

  • People are capable of having two or three priorities. More priorities leave them scattered and unfulfilled, filling their time with stuff that doesn't matter.

  • Once you know your priorities, everything on your to-do list should serve them. Look out for the 'shoulds' - they are not serving your priorities.

Give tasks a value

Look over your to-do list and assign every task a value, such as a dollar-per-hour amount that you might have to pay someone else to do it. Score tasks from $10 per hour for administrative tasks up to $10,000 per hour for high-level strategy and sales-related tasks.

By giving dollar-per-hour values to specific tasks, you ensure you use your resources correctly.

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