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The Six Lists You Need To Make Every Day Productive

A Specific Daily To-Do List

  • You should only put things on a to-do list that you have the time and resources to achieve
  • Big goals and projects should be broken down into actionable tasks.
  • It helps to match the action with your productivity levels.
  • If something doesn’t get done, reevaluate the task at the end of the day. 

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The Six Lists You Need To Make Every Day Productive

The Six Lists You Need To Make Every Day Productive

https://www.fastcompany.com/3051951/the-six-lists-you-need-to-make-every-day-productive

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

A Specific Daily To-Do List

  • You should only put things on a to-do list that you have the time and resources to achieve
  • Big goals and projects should be broken down into actionable tasks.
  • It helps to match the action with your productivity levels.
  • If something doesn’t get done, reevaluate the task at the end of the day. 

An Outsource List

  • Look at everything on your to-do list and ask yourself, ‘Am I the only person who can do this?’
  • Anything that can be given to someone else should be put on an outsource list.
  •  While outsourcing takes the extra time upfront to train someone else on the task, it saves you time later, which can be used to focus on the things you do have to do. 

A Long-Term Goals List

Even if you think it’s too big of a dream but it’s something you want, write it down anyway. 

When you write something down, studies say you’ll be 33% more likely to do it because it sets an intention and puts a goal into motion.

A Pros and Cons List

When you’re making an important decision, create a list of pros and cons. This list makes you dig down deep.

It can also help to share your list with someone else or ask a friend or partner to help brainstorm more pros and cons. This list gives you the clarity you need to make good decisions.

A Project List

When you are working on a project with others, create project lists that detail tasks and assign responsibilities.

This helps you avoid micromanaging.

A Talking-Points List

If you have an upcoming meeting or an important phone call, create a list of things you want to discuss, so you don’t risk forgetting something. 

Keep this list handy on your desk, so when things pop in your mind you can jot them down.

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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.

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  • Vision List - consists of everything you want to experience in life.
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The Not-to-do List

A list of tasks you simply don't do: You delete them, delegate them, outsource them or simply say no when they try to find their way on your to-do list:

  • Things you want to say no
  • Distractions from being productive
  • Regular tasks you can delete, delegate, or outsource
  • Other people's responsibility
  • Small projects that get way on bigger projects
  • Emotionally draining tasks
  • Bad habits
  • Stuff that doesn't need to be done
  • Things that are out of control
  • Everything else that you can systematically eliminate and bring a bigger margin into your life.
Not-to-do List and Templates

When people ask you personally or via email something that you are struggling to decline, use templates. Templates are standard response you use to everyone. With the use of these, you refuse them politely without offending them. Also,  it saves you time and there's less emotional pressure compared to writing a decline every time.

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The 2 systems of the brain that wok during decision making:

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At times, these systems are at odds with each other, but research shows it's always best to trust an algorithm than your own gut.

Pros-and-cons lists are flawed

There are a few biases they don't address:

  • Narrow framing: the tendency to view an option as your only option.
  • Confirmation bias: our tendency to gather the information that supports our preferred option.
  • Short-term emotion: our tendency to have our judgment clouded when emotions run high.
  • Overconfidence: our tendency to make a decision with too much optimism about how things will play out.

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