3 reasons to abandon your to-do list and get things done

Book meeting space and hotel rooms – check
Discuss menu with sustainable caterer – check
Sent invitations with programm – check

Are you a fan of to-do lists? I have to admit that I love to write down all my tasks on a list and mark them off when I finished them. It always made me feel like I have an overview about the number and volume of my tasks. However, when I check my list carefully at the en of the day, there are still many tasks waiting because I only picked off the items I could finish within ten minutes. What is the problem with classical to-do lists? And how can we plan our tasks more efficiently? I found some great tips I want to share with you.

To Do List

Too much choice

Looking at 86 items on your to-do list makes you dizzy. Too much choice can overwhelm our brains. As a consequence you will probably turn into default mode and check mails for an hour instead of getting the real work done. It is impossible to keep track of so many tasks and since new tasks come around each day the list gets longer and longer.

Better: keep your lists short and only focus on the most important tasks for the day. You will also feel more motivation when you look at a task list, which can be accomplished.

Different complexity and priority

Some tasks require two minutes, others two hours. Some tasks are not too pressing, others should have been finished yesterday. To-do lists don’t reflect the complexity and priority of tasks very well. Automatically you will focus on the shorter tasks because they make you like you get more things done. However, complex or unpleasant tasks will get lost in your jungle of to-dos.

Better: sort your tasks into priority categories with high priority tasks in the first place. Try to estimate how much time a task will take and add an extra hour buffer time. With these estimations you can make a daily work schedule.

Lack of context

Some tasks are too complex to be formulated in 5 or 6 words for a to-do list. A problem like ‘make a strategy to get more projects’ consists of many small tasks, which need to accomplished step by step. A to-do list does not provide enough context for such tasks to tell you what you should actually work on.

Better: Plan complex tasks as projects and break them down to small action steps. For the example above you could plan the following steps: characterize actual projects, determine time capacities, find potential clients, etc. With this strategy you can accomplish complex tasks step by step.

What’s your tip?

I hope that you find these tips useful. How do you manage your tasks? Do you have any additional tips for me? I’d love to hear them.

Advertisements

Love to know how you feel about this. Please leave a reply!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s