To-do lists lead to distraction - Deepstash

To-do lists lead to distraction

While to-do lists are supposed to keep us on task, they don't.

To-do lists lead to more distraction. A distraction is any action that draws us away from what we plan to do. Working on a task can be a distraction if it is not what you committed to doing with your time. For example, instead of working on a big planned project, looking at your to-do list can give you 'permission' to escape into doing something else, thereby putting off the real hard task.

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MORE IDEAS FROM Be a Schedule Builder, Not a To-Do List Maker - Nir and Far

It's much easier to fill up our to-do list than to actually do the tasks.

Constantly reminding ourselves that we didn't do what we said we'd do cements a self-stereotype: We begin to see ourselves as someone who doesn't follow through. Eventually and subconsciously, we begin to see ourselves as the problem. The narrative is that we are not good with deadlines; maybe we are no good. In reality, the real culprit is the to-do list methodology.

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There is nothing wrong with getting tasks onto a piece of paper or app. The problem is running your life with a to-do list.

To-do lists:

  • perpetuate harmful self-stereotypes
  • lead to distraction
  • destroy the fun in life

The best to-do list is one you make with a schedule builder.

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If you want to stop the tyranny of the to-do list, you must break the habit of letting your list tell you what to do. Build a weekly schedule instead. For example, study from 2-4 pm, exercise from 4-6 pm, work from 6-9 pm, work on the to-do list from 9-10 pm.

  • Being a schedule builder will affirm a better self-image.
  • You are more likely to stay on track by adding a fixed time.
  • You will be freed from feeling you should be doing something else.

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A to-do list is a cruel and oppressive ruler. To-do lists occupy our minds, stress us out and drain enjoyment out of our lives.

Few people know what leisure time is supposed to feel like. Unfinished tasks invade our thoughts when we try to relax and sometimes keep us up at night worrying about the tasks we still have to do.

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The to-do list is faulty

Many people run their lives on a faulty operating system, namely the to-do list.

People who use a to-do list keep a running list of all the things they promise to get done, but at the end of the day, the list of uncompleted tasks got longer. Their days and sometimes entire careers are spent in a blur of never getting enough done, even though they use a technique that they thought would make them more productive.

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Deepstash helps you become inspired, wiser and productive, through bite-sized ideas from the best articles, books and videos out there.

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RELATED IDEA

  • Vision List - consists of everything you want to experience in life.
  • 100 Days List - all the task waiting for you in the next 100 day.
  • Personal Sprint Backlog or Bi-Weekly Sprint - tasks categorized by to-do, in progress, and done.
  • Daily 3T List - the three most important tasks of the day.
  • Not-to-do List - tasks you simply don’t do, no matter what. 

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  1. Don't answer calls from unrecognized phone numbers. Don't waste time knowing the one who called, leave it in the voicemail.
  2. Do not e-mail first thing in the morning or last thing at night to stop you from scrambling your schedule and difficulty of sleep.
  3. Do not agree to meetings or calls with no clear agenda or end time. Ask for it in advance for preparation.
  4. Do not let people ramble. Always get to the point.
  5. Do not check e-mail constantly — “batch” and check at set times only.
  6. Do not over-communicate with low-profit, high-maintenance customers. 
  7. Do not work more to fix overwhelm — prioritize. Know what is urgent and important.
  8. Do not carry a cellphone 24/7 to prevent your personal life interrupted by work.
  9. Do not expect work to fill a void that non-work relationships and activities should.

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to-do List

There are several different to-do lists (and a few sub-lists) you should keep in order to stay completely organized on a daily basis, while also keeping a macro perspective on what you want to achieve in your business or personal life, and where you want to go. 

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