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How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

Break Tasks Down

Sometimes it seems daunting to start a project because of its scale, which is why it’s important to break tasks down into small chunks. 

Subdividing tasks allows you to keep progressing by switching tasks when you get stuck but have deadlines to meet or taking a break isn’t an option. It also allows you to circumvent boredom as you won’t get stuck in the same task.

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How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

How to make an actually effective to-do list if you're a procrastinator

https://www.fastcompany.com/90392932/to-do-lists-for-procrastinators

fastcompany.com

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Key Ideas

Common Reasons For Procrastination

  • Fears of not doing a specific task well enough.
  • Unpleasant feelings associated with a specific task.
  • Thinking working under pressure makes for more efficient working.

Drop Or Automate Tasks

If procrastination makes your list have too many items, find out what you can eliminate. For necessary but time-consuming tasks that don’t bring a lot of returns, consider adopting solutions that will do it for you.

Automating tasks you would otherwise be doing manually, is also very satisfying and can help you fight procrastination.

Break Tasks Down

Sometimes it seems daunting to start a project because of its scale, which is why it’s important to break tasks down into small chunks. 

Subdividing tasks allows you to keep progressing by switching tasks when you get stuck but have deadlines to meet or taking a break isn’t an option. It also allows you to circumvent boredom as you won’t get stuck in the same task.

Make Project-Specific To-Do Lists

Daily to-do lists can demoralize us, as we tend to keep pushing to the next day what we can’t finish in time, which makes the list grow and seem overwhelming.

Project-specific to-do lists consist of project-specific lists of all the actions you need to take to complete the project. They allow you to work through your tasks as you have time and better use scraps of time.

Only Plan For One Item a Day

One way of tackling procrastination is to focus on one thing, and then to give yourself permission to do whatever you want for the rest of the day. Select an important task you’ve been long avoiding, and take one day just for it.

After finishing the chosen task, you are likely to attend to other tasks that aren’t on your list and enjoy them more as they won’t seem like an obligation.

Create a Procrastination List

When you don’t feel like tackling the hard tasks on your to-do list, ensure that your “procrastination” activity moves you forward. You are unlikely to tackle complex tasks, so make a “procrastination” list with tasks that are different enough from the items on your actual to-do lists, and are relatively quick and painless to do. 

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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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Perfectionism and to-do lists

To-do lists can help perfectionists move past our paralysis. They may find making a list to be a reassuring guide to their day.

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Break down projects

 ... into manageable tasks. 

This way, you're armed with a set of concrete actions to take rather a vague cloud of high expectations.

Define the next action

... rather than all subsequent steps.

Focusing only on the next action gives you permission to work on something even if you don’t have it all figured out—which is crucial to completing tasks that in the past have left you paralyzed.

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1. Time-Blocking

Time-blocking consists of assigning individual tasks to manageable time slots.

Instead of writing out short tasks alongside hours-long tasks on your list for the day and hoping you ha...

2. If/then Lists

To set reasonable goals make a list for high-energy days and another for when you are reluctant to work. Both lists should follow an “if/then” model.

The first lists should have the more involved tasks, while the second list should feature more mindless tasks like cleaning out your inbox, organizing your desk, or even napping.

3. Eisenhower Matrix
An Eisenhower Matrix breaks a to-do list into the four categories below:
  1. Has items that are both urgent and important, is to be tackled immediately.
  2. Items that are important but not urgent, can be scheduled for a later time.
  3. Tasks deemed urgent but not important can be delegated to others if possible
  4. Tasks that are neither urgent nor important should be crossed off the list altogether.

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