How to NOT Make a To-Do List
To-do lists are one of the handiest productivity tools that we can have. They are also quite easy to do and not to mention, can save us a lot of time both in the present and in the future. This is because when making a to-do list, you are essentially organizing your thoughts together to make a coherent plan of what you will do in the future. This saves you the trouble of deciding what to do next as you have a guide on what exactly you need to accomplish.
Furthermore, to-do lists enable you to simplify complex tasks into more manageable tasks that you can chip away at. This makes even the most seemingly overwhelming project a breeze to do as you’ve broken it down into smaller bite-sized pieces. In addition, to-do lists give you a sense of responsibility and time management. Knowing what you have to do and during what time gives you an idea of when and where to start thus eliminating the risks of procrastination.
With all of that being said, there are still some common mistakes that a lot of you may have been making when creating your to-do lists. Now, there aren’t some compelling universal guidelines on what-to-do lists are supposed to include, but knowing what habits or things to avoid including can take your to-do lists to the next level!
Adding repetitive tasks
Now, there are things that we must do every day and I’d understand why you would add them at first. For instance, answering your emails, contacting clients, and other mundane tasks that you have basically already ingrained into your system need not be added to your to-do list.
Not only are they redundant, but they will also consume more space in your to-do list than necessary. Having a to-do list that’s too long can also seem as intimidating as the tasks themselves. So, cut yourself some slack and do not add these things anymore. Why would you need to list them, if you know you’re going to do them anyway, right?
Adding tasks that are too short
Similar to the first one above, adding tasks that are distracting essentially refers to activities that take less than five minutes to actually finish. As we’ve said before, you wouldn’t want to have a very long or intimidating to-do list as it would essentially be useless at that point. Hence, remove as many “distracting” tasks as you an such as answering emails, contacting other departments/clients, and others. Hiring a virtual assistant for these tasks is also a great option!
Listing somebody else’s task
Remember that your to-do list is yours and yours alone. This list defines your upcoming days, weeks, or maybe even months, so make it as about yourself as possible! This is why you shouldn’t add somebody else’s task to your to-do list. Quite often people are too afraid to say no to a coworker or manager that it ends up becoming a habit of theirs to follow their orders and even make it a part of their day. So, if you ever feel like you’ve been doing somebody else’s work for them without any sort of proper reward, then feel free to remove them from your to-do list.
Now, this might be surprising, but often our to-do lists also include things like, “check out social media at lunch”, or “Hang out with a colleague at night”. Since these things provide no actual value for our productivity, they do not have to be on the list with the things that are actually helping us to become productive. Mixing play with work is never a good idea!
If you really need to, then make a separate list for recreational activities set for a later date to avoid confusing yourself as relaxation is a must too to avoid pent-up stress.
Adding tasks that someone else can do for you
If there’s a task that you just can’t seem to get done either because it’s too hard or too easy that it’s just a bother and time consuming to do, then feel free to ask yourself whether or not you really have to do this yourself or if you can delegate this task to someone else. Not only will this save you a lot of time, but it will also spare you from investing too much of your time into meaningless tasks.
Remember that making to-do lists serves as a tool for us to boost our productivity and even then, there are still ways to make our to-do list more efficient such as the ones mentioned above. Essentially, only keep those things that actually contribute to your overall productivity and cut out all those that make your lists too cluttered or distracting.
Once you realize the things that you don’t actually need to do, you’ll be surprised at just how much you can do while even saving more time! By focusing on the things that you actually need to do, you accomplish more things and gain much more confidence in your work.