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

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. 

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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

7

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. 

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.

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. 

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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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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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 ite...
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.

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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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.

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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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