How your ‘To Do’ list is hurting you

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Last Updated: Jan 15, 2018

Many productivity experts cite to-do list as the key to getting organized and having more done in the day.

The experts claim that writing down the tasks you want to accomplish in a day prevents you from failing to do them.

But studies have shown that 41 percent of the items on the to-do list usually never get completed and only 15 percent of the to-do list items actually get done.

It is true that whatever you do does not always correlate with what you had set out to do.

Your to-do lists will become a collection of uncompleted tasks and therefore a source of worry and anxiety that you are not accomplishing enough. And remember, worries and anxiety are not good for your health.

The problem with these lists is that we often overload them, we don’t plan them very well and we don’t think of the strategically.

Experts now suggest adding another list to your day referred to as a “done list”. This is a list where you only write the tasks that you have accomplished.

This can boost your productivity and motivation, and also make you work smarter. To some, writing down what you have done may sound like a waste of time, but remember this is a record of your small victories in the course of the day.

At the same time, whenever you record a completed task on your list, you will receive a rush of endorphins that will give you the energy to go on.

But how do you create a done list and how do you make your to-do list more effective? Here are some tips that can guide you in this process;

Be selective on what you write
You don’t need to write down everything you do during the day. Pick tasks that bring you closer to your goal.

You must be having something you want to achieve in a given duration or in your life. Any task that contributes to this goal should go into your list. For example, if your goal is to build a house, your done list would include all the activities you do in day that moves you towards completing the house.

Write down what you get done as soon as you accomplish it
Progress is a powerful tool for motivation. By writing down a few small accomplishments can get motivated to do more.

Accomplishment gives you a sense of satisfaction and will make you want to achieve more.

Ask questions that challenge you
By asking challenging questions you will find yourself focusing more on your done list. Ask about the progress you made on a particular project and how you can turn negatives like interruptions into progress the following day.

Ask yourself what you learnt in the course of the day that can help in improving your project(s).

Use your done list to complement the to-do list
Do not replace your to do list with the done list, use them together. The to-do list gives you a forward-looking planning while the done list gives you your progress report.
On your to-do list you can split the tasks into smaller steps so they become easier to get through.

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