The Dark Side of To-Do Lists

Are you as into your to-do list has I’m into mine?  There’s something so satisfying about checking off those to-do’s.  That sense of accomplishment makes you feel great about yourself.

But, have you ever stopped to think about whether the line items on your list are the “right” to-do’s.  Are your to-do’s really helping you reach your goals?  I mean, how many times have you already done something only to write it down on your list so you could check it off—100% guilty!  You know you do it too.

The problem with to-do lists is that creating them doesn’t usually take into account what you need to prioritize—or what you actually need to accomplish.  The dark side of to-do’s lies in their format which gives equal weight to each line item.

I bring this up because there are a lot of things that I want to accomplish this year and I only have 24 hours in a day just like everyone else.  So, the only way for me to get more done is to work smarter and prioritize.

How am I going to get more done?  Two words: time blocking.

The concept of time blocking is pretty simple.  You create blocks of time to get your most important tasks completed first and then everything else gets done at the end of the day.  Each night you also set aside a block of time to plan your next day and ensure your top priorities are actually tasks that will help you reach your broader goals.   Planning the night before means that these top priorities are just in fact that—top priorities not just line items on a list.

If you get to the most important stuff first thing, you’ll actually get it done.  You won’t run the risk of being sidetracked or getting tired in the afternoon and not finishing the things that are most important.

To work smarter you’ll have to build a better to-do list by making your to-do’s things that are actually important and help you accomplish your goals.

To continue this discussion about working smarter, in my next post, I’ll discuss multi-tasking or rather the myth of multi-tasking.

Until then, stay on your toes!

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