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If To-Do Lists Are Stressing You Out, Try ‘Done’ Lists Instead

Lists

While everybody is busy doing to-do lists, you might find yourself feeling tired at the very thought of just starting such a list. Actually, this is quite understandable, as to-do list require effort and determination to be fulfilled. Done lists, on the other hand, can prove really useful, as they lead in an increase in self-confidence as well as a decrease in depression related emotions: while you do things, just add them to your list. As easy and as efficient as can get.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

If To-Do Lists Are Stressing You Out, Try ‘Done’ Lists Instead

If To-Do Lists Are Stressing You Out, Try ‘Done’ Lists Instead

https://www.self.com/story/done-lists

self.com

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Key Ideas

Lists

While everybody is busy doing to-do lists, you might find yourself feeling tired at the very thought of just starting such a list. Actually, this is quite understandable, as to-do list require effort and determination to be fulfilled. Done lists, on the other hand, can prove really useful, as they lead in an increase in self-confidence as well as a decrease in depression related emotions: while you do things, just add them to your list. As easy and as efficient as can get.

Functioning with lists

We all know for a fact that to-do lists are great: they enable you to be more organized while keeping track of your progress in the different fields. However, what is even greater is the combination of to-do tasks with the already accomplished ones. Creating done lists leads to an increase in self-confidence as well as making oneself feel satisfied with the current accomplishments.

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Find the to-do list app that work for you

The best one for you depends entirely on your working style and personal preferences.

You can use a physical notebook around everywhere you go, but it's easier to use a to-do list app or tool that syncs across all your devices. That way, you can access your to-do items whenever and wherever you need to, whether you're at your desk, in a meeting, or on a business trip.

Prepare in advance

Write out your to-do list the day before:

  • You'll free your time to dive right into your to-do list in the morning - one of the most productive times of day.
  • It can help you spot obstacles ahead of time and prepare accordingly.
  • Knowing what you have going on well in advance could help you relax and sleep better the night before.

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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 tra...

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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Cal Newport on better managing time
  • To-Do lists are useless. Schedule everything.
  • Assume you’re going home at 5:30, then plan your day backwards.
  • ...
Eliminate

See if you can cut your tasks and projects lists in half. Then try to cut them even further a few days later.

See which tasks aren't necessary anymore and find the ones that can be del...

Know what’s essential

You really should focus on one goal at a time, but if you want to do 2 or 3, that’s OK too.

Any smaller tasks are essential if they help you accomplish those goals, and not essential if they’re not related.

Simplify your commitments

You can't do it all. Only stick to those commitments in your life that really give you joy and value.

For the rest, you need to learn to say no, and value your time. 

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The “work first” mindset

Design your days around your work. Yes, there are other important things you have to take into consideration, but keeping your eyes your work signals that you are committed to getting your work don...

Don’t overdo it

If you start making mistakes and you feel dizzy after working a certain number of hours, don't overdo it.
This is a sensitive topic if you have a boss, but observe the number of hours you are functioning the best. If you have 7 hours of productive work in you per day, use them. But if your battery runs out after 5 hours, call it a day.

Productivity strategies

Experiment with them and find which one better suits you.
Create your own system for working from home. What works for other people might not work for you.

Trim the fat

Multitasking and directing your energy to unimportant tasks and activities will overwhelm and prevent you from being productive.

Focus on your 3 to 5 ...

Measure your results

To assist you with measuring results instead of time, keep done lists to feel more motivated and focused.

Have an attitude adjustment

We are more effective at work when we have a positive attitude. 

good attitude at work will help you set standards for your work and ensure that you're taking responsibility for yourself.

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Flexibility with remote work
Flexibility with remote work

Usually, working from home is about flexibility. Every single person will have a different schedule, which will make them more productive.

Early risers and night owls
  • Early risers may work from 5 a.m. to 7 a.m., take a break to get kids sorted for school, then start work again at 8:30 a.m and be finished by 2:30 p.m.
  • Some may sleep in and only start working around 10 a.m. They may stop at 3 p.m. and work again between 10 p.m and 1 a.m. when the house is quiet.

It's not always a matter of early versus late. Some people work longer hours on some days to give themselves a break on other days. It's all a matter of fitting work into your lifestyle and when you're most productive.

Batching for productivity

Batching is a common productivity strategy - group similar tasks together so your brain doesn't tire with too much context switching.

For example, to break your day into three-to four-hour work sessions with two- to three-hour breaks or naps in between. That way, you can focus on specific tasks during each session.

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Stop Reacting

Don’t check your email or anything else that is going to dictate your behavior.

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The Things That Matter Most

Most of us get 80% of results from 20% of the work we do. So focus on that 20%.

Don’t be vague. Specify what you need to get done - research shows that having concrete goals is correlated with huge increases in confidence and feelings of control.

Use Your “Magic Hours” Wisely

You have 2-2.5 hours of peak productivity every day. You may actually be 30% more effective at that time. For most of us, this happens in the morning.

Those are the hours when you should be working on your main goals. Why would you want to waste that on a conference call or a staff meeting?

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The Pomodoro Technique

Pomodoro is doing focused work in 25-minute sessions throughout the day. After each session, take a five-minute break. After completing four consecutive Pomodoros, take a 20 to 30-minute break.

The Problem with Pomodoro

Pomodoro is excellent for tackling tasks you don't feel like doing or jobs that require little thought.

However, other tasks, like writing or coding, require uninterrupted time. The problem with the Pomodoro method is that the timer is a consistent interruption that prevents you from getting into a state of flow.

The Flowtime Technique

It is a modified Pomodoro. And it solves Pomodoro's big problems.

  • It works by writing down one task you intend to work on during a focus session.
  • Then work until you start feeling tired or distracted, write down the end time, and take a break. A break can be anything from 5 minutes to 15 minutes.

Because you're not tied to a timer, you're more likely to find yourself in a flow state from time to time.

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Avoiding Distracting Websites

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Reward Yourself

If you’re studying towards getting a scholarship, you may decide to reward yourself by stopping work for a day or so. This kind of reward can slow your progress and reduce your momentum. 

Instead, pick a reward that does not affect your work. For example, once you’ve reached your goal, have dinner at your favorite restaurant with a friend.   

Not Being Realistic

 There are limits to your personal productivity. You may have health issues. You have unique demands on your time. 

The best way to be productive is to work around these issues. Find out what works for you.

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